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Fri, Nov 03, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Yahoo alternative-energy, food Web sites launched

FUEL FOR THOUGHT The Internet giant aims to help people decide what to cook for dinner, and to find information about petroleum-shunning cars and trucks

AP AND AFP , LOS ANGELES AND SAN FRANCISCO

With online competition for eyeballs intensifying, Web portal Yahoo Inc is launching a new site devoted to food that will feature videos and other content from celebrity chefs such as Rachael Ray and Martha Stewart.

Yahoo Food was set to launch yesterday, the first major offering from the company's Lifestyles group, based in Santa Monica, California.

"People are searching the Web and Yahoo every day for life's biggest question -- what's for dinner?" said Deanna Brown, general manager of Yahoo Lifestyles.

Yahoo has been trying to overcome slowing financial growth that has been giving investors a serious case of indigestion. The company's stock price is down by 34 percent so far this year.

Rivals such as Google Inc, which recently purchased the video site YouTube, have been aggressively adding video content to attract advertisers looking for alternatives to traditional media outlets.

Yahoo started its media division several years ago to produce more original content as well as license material on a variety of topics, including finance, entertainment, music, sports and games.

The idea for the site came from the 1.5 million food-related searches on the site each day, most of which come around 4pm, Brown said.

Yahoo Food aims to hold people's attention after they have found a recipe by offering cooking videos and lavish photography and layout that Brown refers to as "food pornography."

Brown co-founded Epicurious, one of the earliest food Web sites, which is owned by magazine publisher Conde Nast.

Meanwhile, Yahoo championed the environment on Wednesday with the launch of a Web site devoted to alternative-fuel vehicles.

Yahoo Autos Green Center promised what they described as comprehensive, unbiased, data about green cars and trucks as well as the communities that have sprung up around them. The Web site went live at autos.yahoo.com/green_center.

Yahoo Autos also teamed up with the nonprofit Environment Defense organization to give vehicles "green ratings" ranging from one to 100 based on greenhouse gas emissions, polluting exhaust, and fuel economy.

"Our Green Center is at the confluence of two large, growing trends -- green going mainstream, and the explosion of social media on the Web," said Yahoo Autos general manager Jennifer Dulski.

The Green Center sought out industry information from the Internet and combined it with content contributed by users of the search engine and its online properties. Its offerings includes information about purchase incentive programs and stations for alternative fuels such as bio-diesel made from vegetable oil. An online forum enables potential buyers to question green car owners.

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