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Users can now search documents stored in .pdf file format, carry out an assisted search in four additional languages and take advantage of an updated news search.
The company has also improved frequency with which it refreshes its search results, claiming that half of its results are now refreshed daily.
Earlier this year, AltaVista began phasing out pop-up ads from its US site and plans to begin eliminating them on other country sites.
However, it is still courting advertisers with promotional slots on its home page, ads linked to user searches, seasonal promotions and other offerings.
"We believe that the more focused advertising becomes, the less intrusive and more effective it is in the search environment," AltaVista chief revenue officer Jeff Lehman said.
AltaVista's latest push is an effort to balance the needs of users and advertisers in what is a particularly fickle online market. The move came after the company sought to diversify itself by offering corporate search tools.