Jim Lanzone, CEO of Ask.com, has confirmed with me that Ask.com is working on Edison. Edison is the code name behind merging of Ask.com’s two different search technologies they own, Teoma and Direct Hit. The name comes from inventor Thomas Edison, who worked out of New Jersey where’s Ask’s Teoma technology came from and where it still maintains a research base.
Jim would not give me more information beyond that. I did speak with Apostolos Gerasoulis who leaked this information this morning, where he explained that they will be using Direct Hit’s click popularity technology with Teoma’s “subject-specific” link analysis to provide a more social search service.
Apostolos Gerasoulis is very excited about this new algorithm and he told me he feels this will be the most powerful algorithm in search.
Update: I have received a statement from Rahul Lahiri, Vice President of Product Management and Search Technology at Ask.com:
Edison is still in development, so we can’t say too much at this juncture. I can tell you that it’s a next generation algorithm that, among many other things, synthesizes modernized versions of Teoma and DirectHit technologies, as AG said this morning. It’s much more complicated than saying we’re just counting clicks, in the case of DirectHit. The technologies we have, and the patents we hold, go way beyond that. We’re also taking a deeper look at communities and calculating the authorities in those communities. We were really inspired by looking into the universe of user behavior, and what that could tell us, and the social fabric of the Web itself, and what that tells us. We’re also rolling out an upgraded search infrastructure over the course of 2007 and building a new datacenter along the Columbia River in eastern Washington, which will help our speed, freshness and data quality. It’s safe to say that Edison itself will roll out over the course of the year, as we improve it and tweak parameters.