Lycos at a Glance

The Lycos home page (www.lycos.com), shown in Figure 5-1, contains a variety of links to different content and services. There are links to major services (including My Lycos and Lycos Mail) at the very top of the page, with a search box just below that. The left side of the page contains links to Lycos topics with news and other highlights featured in the center of the page.

Figure 5-1: The Lycos home page.

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Figure 5-1: The Lycos home page.

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<t #99: Lycos Is Part of a Larger Network of Sites

Here's something most users don't know: Lycos is just part of a larger network of sites owned by the Terra Lycos company. The sites in the Terra Lycos

Network (www.terralycos.com) operate independently but also feed content into the main Lycos portal.

The following list gives you a quick look at these sites.

♦ Angelfire: Angelfire (www.angelfire.com) is a home page community that enables you to build your own personal Web pages. This is one of two home page communities owned by Terra Lycos; the other is Tripod, discussed a bit later in the chapter.

♦ Animation Express: Animation Express (www.animationexpress.com), originally part of the HotWired site (listed a bit later), offers a range of animated entertainment for your viewing pleasure.

♦ a tu hora: a tu hora (www.atuhora.com) is an e-commerce site for the Spanish market. It offers one-hour delivery of convenience products such as food and beverages, as well as books, music, electronics, and other merchandise.

♦ Gamesville: Gamesville (www.gamesville.com) is one of the Web's largest sites for interactive entertainment. Members can play both single-player and multi-player games, and compete in massive real-time gaming events. (See Secret #119 to learn more.)

HotBot: Hotbot (www.hotbot.com) is one of the Web's leading search engines. Learn more about HotBot in Chapter 8.

♦ htmlGEAR: The htmlGEAR site (www.htmlgear.com) offers interactive content and add-ons for Web site developers.

♦ Invertia.com: Invertia.com (www.invertia.com) is a financial portal for the Latin American market—in particular, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Venezuela.

♦ Lycos Zone: Lycos Zone (www.lycoszone.com) is a site just for kids, including educational content and entertainment. (See Secret #120 to learn more.)

♦ Matchmaker: Matchmaker (www.matchmaker.com) is one of the Web's largest sites for personal ads.

♦ Quote.com: Quote.com (www.quote.com) is a full-service financial information site.

♦ Raging Bull: Raging Bull (ragingbull.lycos.com) is a lively community of financial message boards.

♦ Rumbo: Rumbo (www.rumbo.com) is a full-service travel portal.

♦ Sonique: Sonique (sonique.lycos.com) is a free media player program, popular among the MP3 set.

♦ Terra: Terra (www.terra.com) runs a variety of Web portals for the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking world. Terra also offers dial-up and broadband connection services to select European markets.

♦ Tripod: Tripod (www.tripod.lycos.com) is another home page community you can use to create and host your own personal Web pages. When you click the Build a Website link on Lycos' home page, this is where you're taken. (See Secret #123 to learn more.)

♦ Webmonkey: Webmonkey (www.webmonkey.com) is a terrific resource for both novice and experienced Web developers. It offers daily articles and news on all manner of technical topics, as well as an extensive archive of tutorials and features.

Whowhere: Whowhere (www.whowhere.com) is one of the Web's top White Pages directories. You can use Whowhere to look up individual addresses and phone numbers, as well as e-mail addresses and personal Web pages. (See Secret #107 to learn more.) Wired News: Wired News (www.wired.com) is a source for daily technology news, and the online arm of Wired magazine.

#100: When You Search Lycos, You're Searching AllTheWeb

Lycos' search feature is powered by AllTheWeb, a third-party search provider owned by Overture—which in turn was recently acquired by Yahoo!. AllTheWeb, also called the FAST search engine, is a close rival to Google in terms of number of listings, search speed, and search accuracy, which makes Lycos search very, very good.

I won't get into all of AllTheWeb's features here; I devote an entire chapter (Chapter 7) to this search engine, so you can turn there to learn more. All you need to know is that the Lycos search retains all the features of AllTheWeb and delivers identical results.

, #101: The First Results are Bogus

Almost all search sites accept paid listings from advertisers. To their benefit, most sites do a good job of separating these paid listings from the real search results, so as not to totally confuse users.

But not Lycos.

Lycos gets bad marks for placing their paid search results in-line with actual search results, and not labeling them as paid. When you look at a Lycos search results page, the first several listings are paid listings, even though they're not labeled as such. You don't get to the actual search results until you scroll down to the listings labeled Web Results.

So when you're searching with Lycos, skip the first few listings—and skip right to the real Web Results.

<#102: There Are Other Search Options Available

As you just learned, Lycos' main search results are provided by the AllTheWeb search engine. If you're not satisfied with these results, however, Lycos makes it easy to expand your search with other search providers—in particular, the

Open Directory, HotBot, and Direct Hit. All you have to do is click the HotBot, AltaVista, Overture, or Web Directory options in the Need a Second Opinion section at the bottom of the search results page (shown in Figure 5-2) and then click the Search button. Lycos will direct your query to the selected provider and conduct a new search to display new results.

Figure 5-2: Use the options in the Need a Second Opinion section to expand your search to other providers.

Figure 5-2: Use the options in the Need a Second Opinion section to expand your search to other providers.

HotBot

HotBot is a search site that, like Lycos, is part of the Terra Lycos Network. HotBot provides results from four different search indexes—Google, Inktomi, Teoma, and AllTheWeb. (You can access HotBot directly at www.hotbot.com; go to Chapter 10 to learn more.)

AltaVista

AltaVista is a search site that, like AllTheWeb, is owned by Overture—which was recently acquired by Yahoo!. The oldest search engine on the Web, AltaVista isn't nearly as powerful as AllTheWeb or Google, but it still returns quality results. (You can access AltaVista directly at www.altavista.com; go to Chapter 9 to learn more.)

Overture

Overture (www.overture.com) is the company that owns both AllTheWeb and AltaVista. It also provides its own search results, based on paid placements by participating Web sites—so its results are going to be less "pure" than those available elsewhere.

Lycos Directory (Open Directory)

When you select the Web Directory option, you direct your search to Lycos' proprietary version of the Open Directory Project. The Open Directory Project (accessible directly at www.dmoz.org) is the largest human-edited directory of Web sites. While even the largest directory is smaller than the smallest search index, the entries are hand-picked and quite often of higher quality than what you get from a search engine like AllTheWeb.

insider You can browse through the categories in the Lycos Directory at insight dir.lycos.com.

<#103: Keep Your Search Results Open in a Separate Pane

Here's something unique—and uniquely useful: Lycos enables you to keep your search results handy while you check out individual links. When you click the Sidesearch link next to any listing on the search results page, two things happen. First, Lycos goes directly to the desired Web page. Second, it opens a new pane on the left side of your browser window, as shown in Figure 5-3, and transfers the search results page to this pane. With this Sidesearch pane open, it's easy to click directly to other listed pages without having to jump back and forth to the normal search results page.

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Figure 5-3: Keep your search results handy in the Sidesearch pane.

You can also install Sidesearch as a permanent feature in your browser. Just go to install.sidesearch.lycos.com and click the Install Sidesearch button. With Sidesearch installed in this fashion, you can display the Sidesearch pane by clicking the Lycos Sidesearch button on your browser's toolbar.

<#104: Fine-Tune Your Search with the Advanced Search Page

While you can use advanced search operators (including the Boolean AND, OR, and NOT) in the normal Lycos search box, it's easier to use Lycos' Advanced Search page when you want to fine-tune your searches. The Advanced Search page offers the filter options detailed in Table 5-1:

Table 5-1: Lycos Advanced Search Filters

Option

Description

Should include word

Searches for the keyword(s) in the text, title, URL, or

referring URL

Must include word

Requires that the keyword(s) be included in the text, title,

URL, or referring URL

Must not include word

Excludes pages where the specified word(s) appear in the

text, title, URL, or referring URL

Domain/site

Restricts the search to a specified site or domain, or

excludes specified site/domain from the search

Language

Restricts the search to specified language(s)

Block offensive content

Activates or deactivates moderate or strict content filtering

(moderate filtering is turned on by default)

Catalog

Directs the search to the specified directory or catalog

of sites

<#105: Filter Objectionable Content from Your Search Results

Lycos offers an interesting way to filter adult content from your searches: Lycos' SearchGuard technology actually deletes certain objectionable keywords from your queries; type all you might, with SearchGuard enabled, all those dirty words never make it to the Lycos search index or directory.

SearchGuard also restricts access to certain areas on the Lycos site—in particular, e-mail, chat, and message boards. That makes it ideal for controlling your children's Web surfing; log them onto Lycos (with SearchGuard enabled) and they'll be relatively protected from the nasty things online.

To activate SearchGuard, you have to create a (free) Lycos username and password, and then configure your account appropriately. Get started by clicking the Parental Controls link on the Lycos home page, and follow the directions from there.

#106: Search for Merchandise to Buy

Lycos offers a fairly sophisticated search engine for online merchandise. Lycos Shopping Search, available from both the Lycos home page and the Lycos Shopping page (shop.lycos.com), not only returns good results, but also presents those results in a unique and extremely usable fashion.

The first page of results you see after you conduct a shopping search lists those shopping categories where the item you searched for can be found. For example, if you search for "silk shirt," you'll see that merchandise is listed in five different categories: Mens Shirts, Womens Shirts & Blouses, Other Womens Clothing, Other Junior & Teens Apparel, and Other Mens Clothing. Click a category and you see the catalog-type page shown in Figure 5-4. This is different from a plain text listing in that each listing includes a picture of the merchandise, a brief description, current price, and a link to the store where the merchandise is sold. All you have to do is click through to place your order.

Figure 5-4: The results of a Lycos Shopping Search.

<#107: Search for People and E-Mail Addresses

Lycos partners with sister site WhoWhere to provide White Pages searching. When you click the White Pages link (or go directly to www.whowhere .lycos.com) you're taken to the WhoWhere Web site, shown in Figure 5-5. Searching is as simple as entering a first and last name, selecting a city or state, and clicking the Search button. WhoWhere will return a list of matching names, complete with addresses and phone numbers.

You can also use WhoWhere to search for e-mail addresses—if they're available. Just pull down the Find list at the top of the WhoWhere page and select An Email Address, then enter the name and location information as usual. WhoWhere will return e-mail addresses for those individuals listed in the WhoWhere directory.

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Figure 5-5: Searching for people at the WhoWhere site.

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insider If you're searching for genealogical information, WhoWhere links to the insight Ancestry.com Web site; just click the Ancestry Search link.

<#108: Search 2,000 Different News Sources

Lycos utilizes the FAST news index (as well as its own Lycos News site) to provide a first-class news search. When you search for a news story, you're searching content from more than 2,000 different news sites. As you might imagine, you'll most likely find what you're looking for.

You can conduct a basic news search from the Lycos home page; just select the News option next to the standard Search box. To narrow your news search somewhat, go to the Advanced Search page and click the News tab. Most of these advanced search options are the same as on the normal Advanced Search page; one unique option is the ability to restrict the search to specific news categories.

#109: Search for MP3 Music Files to Download

Looking for a particular song to download? You could connect to KaZaA or one of the other peer-to-peer file-swapping networks and deal with all that hassle (not to mention potential litigation), or subscribe to Napster or one of the subscription music services, and pay for what you download. Or you could use Lycos to search the Web for the songs you want and download them free of charge.

That's right. One of the hidden features of the Lycos site is a first-rate MP3 search engine. Lycos' MP3 search does a surprisingly good job of finding MP3 files on the Web; it's a much cleaner way of finding music than using a file-swapping network, and much less expensive than subscribing to a paid music service.

To use Lycos' MP3 search, go to the Lycos Music page (music.lycos.com) and enter the song or artist you're looking for in the search box, as shown in Figure 5-6. Choose to Search For MP3s, then click the Search button.

Search For: # artists O MP3s # lyrtts # tfie web

Figure 5-6: Use Lycos to search for MP3s on the Web.

Lycos now returns a page of search results. At the top of the list is a link to music on the Lycos Rhapsody subscription service; you can ignore this (it'll cost you money) and scroll down to the main results. Each matching file is ranked on a Good-Better-Best scale, and the file size (in MB) is noted.

Click a link to display a separate download window, like the one shown in Figure 5-7. From here you can choose to download the file or just play it from where it is.

Figure 5-7: Getting ready to download a music file.

What's great about Lycos is that it's one of the few sites that search the Web specifically for MP3 files, without tying you into a proprietary file-swapping network or subscription service. It also works quite well; I almost always find the music I'm searching for. That's why savvy music lovers use Lycos to find the MP3 files they want—at no risk and no fee.

It's important to note that the results of a Lycos MP3 search link to files on sites all across the Web. Lycos is not part of a file-swapping network, and does not store any of these MP3 files on its own site. Lycos does, however, offer a separate subscription music service, called Rhapsody. Go to music.lycos.com/rhapsody/ to learn more.

<#110: Search for Other Types of Audio Files

Lycos also offers a general audio search, which searches the Web for all types of audio files—not just MP3s. You can use this general audio search to find WAV, MIDI, RealAudio, and other types of audio files.

This general audio search is available on Lycos' Multimedia Search page (multimedia.lycos.com). Just enter your query into the search box, select the Audio search option, and then click the Search button.

, #111: Search for Videos

Lycos' Multimedia Search also lets you scour the Web for video files in the AVI, MPEG, QuickTime, and Real Video formats. This is a somewhat unique feature; there aren't a whole lot of video search engines out there. You can use this video search to find music videos, movie trailers, and movie clips. Just go to the Multimedia Search page (multimedia.lycos.com), enter your query into the search box, select the Video search option, and then click the Search button.

insider To keep Lycos' Multimedia Search from serving up tons of adult links, turn insight on the Parental Controls (located beneath the search box).

, #112: Search for Pictures

There's one last feature in Lycos' Multimedia Search worth noting—the ability to search the Web for pictures. Lycos' picture search is one of the best on the Web, and directly accessible from the Multimedia Search page (multimedia .lycos.com). Just enter your query into the search box, select the Pictures search option, and then click the Search button. Lycos will deliver up a list of image files that match your request.

<, #113: Watch the Latest Music Videos on the Lycos Site

Lycos is a great place to find the latest music videos from the hottest artists. When you click the Videos link on the Lycos Music page, or the Music Videos link on the Lycos home page, Lycos opens a Lycos Video window like the one shown in Figure 5-8. From here you can browse the music videos by category or artist; click the Watch link to view any video.

Figure 5-8: Watch hot videos online at Lycos Music.

caution

Lycos' music video and movie clips play a whole lot better if you have a broadband Internet connection. Trying to watch these clips over a slow dial-up connection is frustrating at best, and often next to impossible.

#114: View Clips from Upcoming Movies on the Lycos Site

Lycos is big on this multimedia thing. In addition to the music videos we just discussed, the portal also offers a wide variety of movie previews and clips that you can watch online on your PC.

To do so just click the Trailers link on the Lycos Movies page (entertainment .lycos.com/movies/) or the Movie Clips link on the Lycos home page. This opens a new Lycos Video window; browse through the clips by movie title and then click the Watch link to view a specific clip.

#115: Find Out More About Your Favorite Movies

Lycos includes a large movie database that you can search from the Lycos Entertainment page (entertainment.lycos.com). Each movie listing includes a synopsis, one or more reviews, cast information, and credits. Recent movies also include a link to view the film's trailer. Just go to the Lycos Entertainment page, enter your query into the search box, and select the Movie Titles option.

insider If you're really into movie information and trivia, nothing beats the Internet insight Movie Database (www.imdb.com)-a must-see site for all serious movie lovers.

<, #116: Find Out More About Your Favorite Celebrities

Still on the movie theme, Lycos offers up a fairly comprehensive database of movie stars. Each celebrity page includes a fairly comprehensive biography, along with a picture gallery and list of films and projects. You can search this database by going to the Lycos Entertainment page (entertainment .lycos.com), entering the star's name in the search box, and selecting the Celebrities option.

. #117: Admire the Hottest Supermodels

Lycos is big on entertainment—to the point of offering some really quirky features. Case in point: Lycos is the only site I know that has a section just for pictures of supermodels. That's right, Lycos Models (models.lycos.com) features pictures, wallpapers, and screensavers of the world's most glamorous fashion models—you know, the women you see in all the ads and men's magazines, and in the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated. You can watch slideshows and download picture files to your heart's content. And remember to visit often; Lycos is constantly updating the content on this site, adding new and upcoming models to the list.

Ever find yourself trying to remember the words to a favorite song—and coming up short? Then you'll appreciate one of the quirkiest features of the Lycos site— the ability to search for and display song lyrics.

This definitely isn't a feature you'll find on other sites. I'm not even sure why Lycos offers it. But it's here nonetheless and is kind of cool, especially if you're a music lover.

To search for a particular lyric, go to the Lycos Music page (music.lycos.com); choose to Search for Lyrics; and then enter the song title, artist name, or a line from the song. When you click the Search button, Lycos displays a page of links to lyric archive sites; click a link to view the lyrics.

Lycos partners with sister company Gamesville (www.gamesville.com) to offer a variety of online gaming to its users. Gamesville, shown in Figure 5-9, offers free single-player and multi-player games, in all popular categories—action, arcade, casino, and so on. The site also offers multi-player gaming for a number of PC and video games, including Madden NFL Football and Halo 2.

Gamesville is somewhat unique among other gaming portals in that it offers game contests in which you can win money and other prizes. For example, you can enter Gamesville's Bingo Zone and play for two dollars per game. Prizes are also available with a variety of casino games, including poker, blackjack, and online slot machines.

, #118: Find the Lyrics to Your Favorite Songs

, #119: Play Games Online and Win Prizes

Figure 5-9: Play games and win prizes at Gamesville.

#120: Put Your Kids in the Zone

As part of its various services, Lycos offers a fairly decent site for kids, called Lycos Zone (lycoszone.lycos.com). As you can see in Figure 5-10, Lycos Zone includes games, homework help (in the form of an encyclopedia, kids' dictionary, science projects, and more), comics, and a variety of reference information and entertainment. Kids can also view movie previews, music videos, and photo slideshows of their favorite celebrities. There's also a section just for teachers, as well as the extremely popular How Stuff Works. All in all, Lycos Zone is a site worth your children's attention.

Figure 5-10: Lycos Zone offers tons of kids-friendly content and activities.

#121: Make Your Travel Reservations (via Orbitz)

Click the Travel link on the Lycos home page (or go to travel.lycos.com) and you can make all your flight, hotel, and car reservations online. Lycos partners with travel giant Orbitz to handle all its reservations, so you should be able to find the bookings you want at affordable prices.

#122: Create Your Own Personal Lycos

Like most other portals, Lycos offers a way to customize its content to create your own personal start page. This service, called My Lycos, is accessed by clicking the My Lycos link on the Lycos home page or by going directly to my.lycos.com.

You can customize your My Lycos page in a number of ways. As you can see in Figure 5-11, all My Lycos content is contained in separate boxes; you can select which content boxes you want to display and then arrange them anywhere on your page. You use the Add & Remove, Move, and Change Box Size buttons to manage your content boxes; the Change Colors button is used to apply a different color theme to the entire page.

Figure 5-11: Customize the content and design of your My Lycos page.

<#123: Build Your Own Web Site-for Free

Lycos happens to be affiliated with two of the largest home page communities on the Web. Both Tripod and Angelfire are part of the Terra Lycos Network, and both offer free personal pages to members.

For whatever reason, Tripod (www.tripod.lycos.com) is the site of choice for Lycos users; it's what comes up when you click the Build a Website link on the Lycos home page. Tripod offers a variety of Web page building tools, including an easy-to-use Site Builder, a robust HTML Editor, and special tools for WebTV users.

Tripod's free entry-level plan gives you 20MB of storage space and 1GB of monthly bandwidth. It also pops up advertisements when visitors view your page, which is why it doesn't cost you anything. If you want a page without the ads (or with more space or features), you can sign up for one of Tripod's other plans; for example, the Tripod Plus plan, for $4.95 a month, provides 25MB of storage space, 5GB of monthly bandwidth, and doesn't subject your visitors to any ads.

insider If, for some reason, you don't like Tripod, check out its sister service, insight Angelfire (www.angelfire.com). Angelfire offers similar plans at similar prices, including the ubiquitous free (with ads) plan.

#124: Create Your Own Blog

Tripod also offers a Blog Builder to all paid subscribers. (If you're using the free service, you're out of luck—sorry.) Blogs (short for Web logs) are the hottest thing going; they let you create a kind of online journal for all the world to see. You can use your blog to express your opinions and present your thoughts, or to log comments from visitors. Visitors' comments can be either moderated or unmoderated; it's your choice.

When you click the Blogs link on the Lycos home page, you're taken to Tripod's Blog Builder page (blog.tripod.lycos.com). From here you can click the Create & Edit Your Blog link to set up your blog on the Tripod site; it's as easy as filling in a few forms and choosing the appropriate options.

Once your blog is up and running, it's listed in the Tripod Blog Directory, also located on the Blog Builder page.

#125: Check Out the Lycos 50

Want to find out what's hot and what's not? Then check out the Lycos 50 (50.lycos.com), which details Lycos' top 50 searches for the previous week. The Lycos 50 is presented in the form of a Billboard-type list, complete with last week's position and the number of weeks on the list.

The Lycos 50 page also includes a Daily Report, focusing on interesting searches of the moment. This is always an interesting and entertaining read.

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