Feeds

Teoma preps relaunch, wants to be Google-beater

From quantity to quality

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Six months after its acquisition by Ask Jeeves Inc, Teoma Technologies Inc is about to relaunch its web site, where it provides a search engine it hopes will eventually become more used than Google. But the firm has a way to go before that will be achievable, and admits its offering is not fully finished.

Paul Gardi, who founded Teoma and is now VP of search technology, said recent statistics prove Teoma is well-liked by searchers. When Teoma web search results started supplementing Ask Jeeves' results (replacing DirectHit's hits), Ask.com clickthrough rates went up 25%.

But the company also has high hopes for its standalone Google-alike site, Teoma.com, as well as the potential for providing search services to unaffiliated portals. Revenue generating features such as paid URL submission and sponsored links (courtesy of Overture Services Inc) are already live on the beta site.

"We think about Ask Jeeves as a customer," said Gardi. "They're our first customer for syndicated search." In the third quarter, Teoma will start offering web search to other portals as a hosted service, moving into the market dominated by Google Inc and Inktomi Corp and others.

Teoma's special sauce is its ability to identify, on the fly, "communities" of interlinked web sites, which in turn help categorize results by topic areas rather than just keywords. The idea, sometimes known as "Kleinberg theory", uses a system of "hubs" and "authorities" to identify communities.

"Pages tend to point at one page more than any other page," said Gardi.

Authorities, which appear as the regular search hits in Teoma, are ranked according to scores generated by text analysis, link analysis and, soon, popularity (courtesy of clickthrough data from sister company DirectHit).

This is fairly similar to existing search technologies. Hubs, to be known as "resources" in the relaunched service, are a little different. Hubs are essentially sites containing topic-specific link lists, where scores of relevant pages are linked. Teoma finds hubs by looking to see which sites link to lots of authorities.

Keywords still play a part. For example, if you search for "Britney Spears", the first authority is britneyspears.com. Teoma realizes, on the fly, that the phrase is quite often accompanied by the word "pictures". You get the option to refine your search to "Britney Spears Pictures", which brings up a whole new community of sites, with worldofbritney.com as the leading authority.

But it's not a perfect system. The same pop starlet search brings up "Free Email" as an option to refine your search, and Justin Timberlake doesn't get a look in.

"In my mind we're not completely out of beta," said Gardi. "The dataset needs to be of a size that represents the web." Currently, Teoma is aware of about 900 million URLs, crawls about 400 million, but cuts out duplicates and spam to end up with a dataset of about 200 million fully indexed pages (only double the size it was last July when the service launched).

By comparison, Google has over 2 billion URLs, of which not all are full-text indexed. Gardi said Teoma's ideal index size will be between 350 million and 500 million pages. "There are not 2 billion useful pages on the web," he said.

"The conversation needs to move from quantity to quality."

The technology is based on the proven assumption that the web is not fully interconnected. With the possible exception of catch-all sites such as Yahoo!, sites tend to link to their own. Golf sites are unlikely to link to football sites, but they will link to other golf sites. The more golf sites that link to golf site X, the more likely it is to be an authority. The more golf sites are linked from site Y, the more likely that site is a golf hub.

The only previous project involving this type of system of sorting information was IBM Corp's "Clever" project. According to Gardi, this project failed and the results were never published. "The problem with [Clever] was that it took weeks to process the community for one word," he said. "200 million words would need a server farm the size of New York state. The sheer volume processing offline was just not practical. We're doing in real time."

©ComputerWire.com. All rights reserved.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
SCREW YOU, EU: BBC rolls out Right To Remember as Google deletes links
Not even Google can withstand the power of Auntie
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
10 Top Tips For PRs Considering Whether To Phone The Register
You'll Read These And LOL Even Though They're Serious
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.