Web Smarts


WHAT: A good place to perform plain-language searches for stock information. The link debuts Monday on search engine Lycos's financial page.

THE BEST PARTS: This new search function allows you to type in basic questions or commands and receive detailed information and comparisons of stock performance and other financial data by company, sector, or industry.

For example, entering "compare the price/earnings ratios of Dell and Apple" will return a ready-made chart listing each. Entering "show me software companies with revenues greater than $500 million" will produce a list.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: The site is free to use, but is very specialized. Unlike other plain-language search engines like Ask Jeeves, it sticks narrowly to corporate performance.

"We're not trying to solve the riddles of the universe," says Stan Hjartberg, the site's executive producer. "We're simply trying to enable you to get nuggets of information from our vast database, and aggregate useful information."

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