SES: Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable on Ask.com's Edison Project ()

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Ask.com has recently announced the launch of their new social media element to search. It’s a new search algorithm code-named the Edison Project. The new algorithm is a combination of two search engine technologies of Ask.com called Direct Hit and Teoma. In an interview with Webpronews at the SES conference, Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable as well as contributing writer to Search Engine Land, talked with us about the Edison Project.

Although not a lot of information has been released concerning the new project, Schwartz has been able to confirm its existence with Jim Lanzone, CEO of Ask.com. He was also able to receive some valuable information from Ask’s Vice President of Research and Development Apostolos Gerasoulis who co-founded Teoma. Gerasoulis is also a professor of computer science at Rutger’s University and is working on the Edison Project. Since the Edison Project is algorithm-based, there will not be a human above it. The only human element will be in the terms of quick popularity and how many people click on their results.

Direct Hit and Teoma were the original social search engines. Direct Hit uses click popularity to determine the relevancy for rank. The more clicks, the higher the page ranks. Teoma is about subject popularity. It looks within the topic and gives a specialist answer instead of the popular answer.

According to Schwartz, Ask.com has been tagging searches for more than three years. They have been tagging the query box and linking it with what the user clicks on. Ask is using the data received from their tagging searches and combining it with the Direct Hit click popularity data and the Teoma specific content popularity data to create this new algorithm that will make for a better search relevancy. Schwartz believes this new search algorithm will also include more components that have not yet been revealed.

Posted in: Barry Schwartz, News and Events, SES NY 2007
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