Search engine maker Excite has announced new applications which allow users to find out instantly who is online and ready to chat.
Excite's Chat application allows Web servers to turn a part of any Web page into a chat room to communicate with other Internet users while still having access to the information on the Web site that is being viewed, company officials say.
Excite PAL, meanwhile, allows users to find out if a particular person is currently surfing the Internet by entering the person's email address.
Using technology licensed from Virtual Places, Excite Chat allows up to 25 users to interact at any Web site instantly dividing the site into HTML-based frames and providing a place for users to chat and view the original content of the Web page, Excite officials say.
Excite Chat also lets users take other users on "tours" around the Web via "tour vehicles". Users can create tour vehicles and invite other users to drag their icons to the tour vehicles, which accommodates up to 11 people at a time.
As a tour host manoeuvres the tour vehicle from Web site to Web site, the tour participants follow along. Participants can also continue to chat with each other while touring a Web site.
Excite PAL (Personal Access List) allows users to find out if friends, family or business
partners are online. All that is needed is a person's correct email address, Excite officials say.
Excite PAL allows users to choose who they see in their PAL list and who will be able to see them. In other words, users can make themselves invisible to other Excite PAL users while they are online.
Excite Chat and Excite PAL for Windows and Macintosh are free and available for download at http://www.excite.com.