New search engine provides live answers from experts

Instead of listing URLs, Jyve links users to humans via live chat, IM and phone

Jyve on Tuesday launched a new search site that links users directly with people who can answer their questions.

Jyve, a maker of plug-ins for the Skype peer-to-peer Internet telephony network, describes the new site as an "ask engine," where user searches provide a live chat, instant message or phone call from a person with expertise in the search topic. Users can get how-to advice and tips on topics as varied as learning a language, buying a computer, mountain biking or cooking, the company said.

When a user types in a question, notices are sent to the desktops of logged-in members who have identified the topic as one in which they are knowledgeable. Members then can chat live on the site or have one-on-one conversations using IM or phone calls. Searchers can evaluate the profile of the person responding before interacting privately.

"Jyve literally brings the knowledge stored in people's minds worldwide online," said Charles Carleton, co-founder of Jyve, in a statement. "We're seeing all sorts of specialized search engines being introduced, but real people still know lots of things that aren't easily found on the Web."

The site lets users rate the answers they receive, and members can set up arrangements where they are paid for professional services, using Jyve's online metering system, the company said. Jyve is free until members make money; after that, the company charges a 10 percent commission for each transaction.

The site also allows manufacturers to refer their customers to Jyve for live help with consumer products and services.

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