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Ask to Dump Teoma and Use Google Search?

 11:53 pm on Mar 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

So says Alley Insider:

An insider tells us that IAC is considering finally pulling the plug on Teoma, the engine that powers Ask's search, and just using Google:

"There is indeed a big shakeup coming. A new Ask. Some think a reduction in workforce is likely. There are no sacred cows, Teoma may be sold or simply abandoned which is hundreds of engineers who work on the core search engine, in place of just using Google's search with our special brand of user interface."

IAC: Ready To Bail On Ask? [alleyinsider.com]

Now if only MSN/Live would pick up and use Teoma, it would be like a dream come true.



 11:58 pm on Mar 1, 2008 (gmt 0)

Wow! That's huge. The little engine that could is one of the nicest pieces of work out there, actually much more innovative than any other SE going back quite a few years.

Well, if Diller couldn't market it, not sure who'd be able to. Hope he doesn't just stuff it in a back room someplace but sells it off; too many good things behind it to let it all go to waste.


 12:29 am on Mar 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

Ask to Dump Teoma and Use Google Search?

Yahoo! to Use Google Search?

Live to Use Google Search?

They're tumbling one at a time to the Great Gooliath. It won't be long before the others follow.

Google will, or I should say, is the World's repository for information. They are the Gorg. Within the Gorg will reside those such as Ask and whoever else gets assimilated in the near future, possibly Yahoo! Bill would never give in to the Gorg so Live would just cease to exist, an oxymoron so to say. The Gorg is growing quickly. "Google is search". Who can compete with Google now? Who? I don't mean to sound like the Google Cheerleading Squad but I'm more of a realist and the truth of the matter is, all of the above is true. :)

Hey, if that is where search is heading, I don't have any problem with that. As long as the ReGoorgitations serve a different sets of results, that works for me. I'd really like to see an SE that serves results randomly based on the first 50. :)

I don't think it is that gloomy yet for Yahoo! and Live. But, with the 4th player now joining forces with Google, or so the rumor says, that gives Google a few more percent of market share. At this point, neither Yahoo! or Live can afford to lose a "few" more percent to Google.


 1:36 am on Mar 2, 2008 (gmt 0)

So as of the latest today, it looks like a Reuters source says it isn't so [alleyinsider.com].

Makes me wonder whether there was a "rumor" leaked as bait to see if ears in Redmond would perk up and take notice, seeing they've been out on a shopping trip.

In a perfect world from where I sit, MSN/Live would acquire and utilize Teoma, which is one sweet piece of technology and always has been; and a far better choice on the part of Ask.com would be to partner with Yahoo! rather than Google, if only because of Ask's demographic and the potential they've got for portalizing within a niche they've always been strong in but never have capitalized on.

Thinking about Yahoo's acquisitions over a period of a few years (other than search) as part of their plan to bring properties in-house rather than outsource, they've got a lot going that could prove very useful to Ask going forward. Google hasn't got the in-house features, and looking at the traffic AOL sends, even with using Google Search, it's a mere fraction of what Ask sends (daily); and from my view and experience, they've got the same type of demographic.


Here's the 2005 thread from when Yahoo acquired Flickr [webmasterworld.com] and I finally found the press release in which Terry Semel's long range plans for Yahoo were mentioned. From 2001: YAHOO! TO ACQUIRE HOTJOBS [docs.yahoo.com]

Mr. Semel continued, "The acquisition of HotJobs is consistent with our strategy of building a diversified global business by developing deeper relationships and more valuable solutions in key verticals for our consumers and business partners.

It's mere speculative fancy at this point in time, but Yahoo's got an awful lot to bring to the table.

[edited by: Marcia at 2:00 am (utc) on Mar. 2, 2008]


 11:57 am on Mar 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Damn, I hope not. Although it's always been a small % of search traffic, I've always appreciated the diversity it brings to search.


 1:16 pm on Mar 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Ask does a lot of things right. Would be a shame to see it disappear.


 1:52 pm on Mar 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I can't think of any reason why Ask would use Google. This sounds like a rumor started by a unhappy employee.

Interesting to note that others here believe as I do, that Ask's Teoma software is very good. I do not use Ask for most searches, but when I'm doing important research on the web, I always give them a try. It is most always worthwhile.

The web needs several good search engines with different ways of looking at the world.

[edited by: weeks at 2:12 pm (utc) on Mar. 3, 2008]

Lord Majestic

 1:58 pm on Mar 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I can't think of any reason why Ask would use Google.

More money maybe? Right now it is a good time to extort good consessions from Google in light of Microsoft/Yahoo situation - I am sure Microsoft would be interested in getting their own stuff (however bad it is) used at Ask as it would allow to capture few more percents of market share.


 2:43 pm on Mar 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have read that they have 3~5% but I thought they were just clueless people who somehow got their default search set to Ask by the computer manufacturer. I have always been disappointed by their results.


 5:56 pm on Mar 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm really not a big fan of teoma's algo. The results seem stale when compared to Google & Yahoo.

I think a switch (to either Google or Yahoo) would be a big improvement to the results they're currently showing.


 6:01 pm on Mar 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm really not a big fan of teoma's algo. The results seem stale when compared to Google & Yahoo.

That's not because of the algorithm. That's because they can't afford to crawl as often as Google. Nor can they afford to index in as great a depth as Google.

Unfortunately, both of these issues limit the usefulness of Ask. You just can use Ask for searches on current affairs, etc.


 7:35 pm on Mar 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

I don't think it is just the crawl rate, it's also how they handle link structure. Their reliance on "community" links seems to have favored very old established sites. They may be crawling the "hot new sites" but by the time they actually start ranking them appropriately it's old news to Google & Yahoo.

JAB Creations

 11:48 pm on Mar 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

If Ask outsources to Google then Ask will no longer be a search engine. It won't be any different from Hotbot, Lycos, Dogpile, and whatever you want to formally classify non-search engine search sites as.

An interesting question arises should Ask no longer qualify as a search engine: who would come in fourth place?

- John


 12:09 am on Mar 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

SearchEngineLand reports [searchengineland.com] that the rumours are false and that Teoma will continue to power ASK.com.


[edited by: tedster at 11:23 pm (utc) on Mar. 4, 2008]


 12:16 pm on Mar 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

That was me - Barry Schwartz. And, what I didn't say in that post is that I don't believe it. I think something is going on, something that is above Ask.com. I can be wrong, but I just have this feeling.

[edited by: tedster at 11:22 pm (utc) on Mar. 4, 2008]


 2:42 pm on Mar 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I just have this feeling

Yeah, once rumors start popping up something's in play somehow even if it weren't before.


 10:27 pm on Mar 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

According to the NYT, Ask.com will eliminate about 40 jobs, or 8 percent of its work force, and is reevaluating its product and marketing lineup, new Chief Executive Jim Safka said on Tuesday.

The company found that about 65 percent of its user base are women, with a high concentration of users in their late 30s in the U.S. Midwest and Southeast. That contrasts with the wider search market, where women account for closer to 48 percent of users.

"If we can do a better job of understanding who these customers are and answering their questions, we will grow," Safka said. He was due to outline the strategy to staff on Tuesday.

In other words, time to make some real changes.


 1:34 am on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

I am seeing Google results on Ask right now!


 1:37 am on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

I definitely saw Google on Ask. I cleared my cookies and they were gone. It was there....


 1:49 am on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

No way! What was the query. I need to have that reproduced if possible.


 3:04 am on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

They laid off 40 employees today, including Gary Price [resourceshelf.com]


 11:24 am on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

Continued here: Ask Abandons Search - Becomes a Women's Vertical [webmasterworld.com]

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