Ask Jeeves to add transaction technology

Search engine company Ask Jeeves Inc. has acquired transaction technology that could help get Internet consumers to the checkout line faster.

The Emeryville, Calif.-based company, which is known for its natural-language search portal, announced today that it has purchased the technology assets and most of the engineering team from Octopus Software Inc., a privately held company in Palo Alto, Calif. The financial details of the deal weren’t disclosed.

The technology from Octopus will be added to the new corporate products division, called Jeeves Solutions, which sells JeevesOne, a self-service tool for companies to automate customer service questions. With Octopus, customers will be able to find products using natural-language queries and will then be able to purchase those products with a link embedded in the search results.

For example, if an end user typed in the query, “Where can I get ink-jet printers?” he would get answers plus a link to purchase the product from the search results.

“The combined solution will enable JeevesOne customers to answer questions and enable transactions throughout the customer communications life cycle by accessing data stored in enterprise systems,” the announcement said. “By the second quarter of 2002, Jeeves Solutions expects to integrate Octopus’s secure enterprise connectivity, support for leading technology standards and deployment tools for corporate IT and business users with JeevesOne.”