CNN, Oracle link for personalized news

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CNN and Oracle Corp. on Wednesday unveiled their version of a personalized Internet news service, CNN Custom News, in the hope of providing the antidote to the growing sickness known as information overload. "Rather than have to sit there and watch CNN 24 hours a day, it basically edits so you can see what you want to see, when you want to see it," said Ted Turner, vice chairman of CNN parent Time Warner.

Using Oracle's information management software, Custom News lets the user create a personalized service based on unique preferences, rather than on general categories like other online services offer. The service also allows users to devise a customized news ticker, as well as a personalized news clipping service, using Oracle's ConText software, which employs linguistic analysis techniques to categorize information by theme rather than key words.

"You get to specify precisely what you want. If you're interested in the San Francisco ballet, rather than ballet in general, you get information about the San Francisco ballet," said Larry Ellison, chairman-CEO of Oracle.

The service will draw initially from CNN networks, along with 150 other global news sources, including wire services, journals and magazines. Citibank has signed on as the first charter sponsor.

The highly produced demonstration of the new service, before thousands of Comdex attendees, almost flopped when Mr. Ellison, who had misplaced his eyeglasses, was unable to get the computer on stage to work. The temporary lag caused Mr. Turner to quip, "I was a worried this wouldn't be ready, but someday it will work."

Mr. Ellison gave up after a few minutes, and moved over to a network computer running Oracle software, a system that performed flawlessly. "Probably a Windows bug," cracked Mr. Ellison, who took several verbal swipes at rival Microsoft Corp.

--By Electronic Media Reporter Lee Hall

Copyright June 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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