Ask Jeeves buys search company Teoma

Ask Jeeves Inc. bought search engine technology company Teoma Technologies Inc. on Tuesday.

Teoma's results-ranking technology will be used to improve the service on the AskJeeves.com natural language search site, the company said in a statement.

The Teoma service was developed by scientists at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and is "the next big thing in search engines," Ask Jeeves said.

Teoma determines results by ranking a site based on its subject-specific popularity -- the number of pages on that subject that point to the site. It also takes into account the number of general Web pages that point to it, said Ask Jeeves. Teoma will also identify relevant hyper-linked communities of sites, the company said.

Ask Jeeves will integrate the technology into its own Web sites, which it says attract more than 14 million users per month. The improved accuracy of results will be useful to users, to advertisers and to other companies that want to add Ask Jeeves' search facilities to their own site, said Ask Jeeves.

Ask Jeeves' search technology is already used by other sites including those of About.com Inc., Microsoft Corp.'s MSN service, and Lycos Inc., the company said.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Teoma will also continue to operate as a stand-alone site at www.teoma.com.

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