New Teoma search engine seeks to topple Google

Query site operator Ask Jeeves Inc. launched the Teoma search engine yesterday, threatening to out seek search rivals such as Google Inc. by offering what it claims are three new proprietary techniques to achieve relevant results.

In addition to traditional search methods, Teoma offers query results grouped in subject clusters, as part of what the company calls its “refine” search feature. For example, if a user types “beetle,” the page may offer result groupings for “Volkswagen Beetles” and “Japanese beetles.”

The engine also ranks sites based on subject-specific popularity, ranking them according to how many same-subject pages link to the site. This technique, which produces listings labelled under the “results” header on the Teoma site, establishes a site’s authority by assessing how often similar sites mention it.

The third technique identifies expert resources on the search subject and lists them under the “resources” header. In the case of the “beetle” query, the site of a bug expert might be listed, or perhaps Volkswagen’s Beetle homepage.

Ask Jeeves will run Teoma as a stand-alone search engine, with plans to integrate Teoma technology into Ask Jeeves’ syndicate search products by the end of the year.

The Emeryville, Calif.-based query site bought Teoma in September of last year and began running as a beta site. Teoma, which means “expert” in Gaelic, originally began as a research project by scientists at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

The new search engine could give Google a run for its money if users find that it turns up more useful results. Additionally, it may breathe new life into Ask Jeeves, which has been looking to increase its traffic base by offering up more thorough query results. began powering its searches using Teoma technology in January and has experiences a 25 per cent increase in search queries since then, a company spokesperson said. Additionally, the site has reported a 15 per cent decrease in site abandonment, signifying that users are finding what they are looking for, she added.

The Teoma search engine can be found at