Teoma Tackles the Web

Teoma is a new search engine that made its public beta debut at the end of May. Using technology developed from a federally funded research project initiated in 1998 in the computer labs at Rutgers University, Teoma looks like a promising new tool for searchers.

Teoma delivers three types of search results. At the top of a result page you'll see topics related to your keywords grouped into folders that look very similar to Northern Light's Custom Search Folders. This makes it easy to both refine and narrow your query simply by clicking a topic link.

Below the pages grouped by topic are results for individual web pages that Teoma has determined are relevant to your search terms.

On the right are the somewhat confusingly named Expert Links, or pages that are rich in links for related subjects. These aren't links to "Ask an Expert" sites, but rather point to directories or "hubs" related to your query. They're great resources when you're looking for additional sources of authoritative information rather than a quick answer to a question.

Teoma calculates relevance using link analysis to identify "communities" on the web, and then determines which sites are the authorities within those communities to find the best pages. It's similar to the way Google works, but with some important differences. Briefly, whereas Google uses the collective wisdom of the entire web to determine relevance, Teoma tries to identify "local" authorities to help identify the best pages for a particular topic.

Danny Sullivan will take a closer look at Teoma in an upcoming issue of Search Engine Report, describing its features and assessing its competitive threat to the other major search engines. To ensure you get his review and analysis, make sure you are signed up for the Search Engine Report.


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About the author

Chris Sherman is a frequent contributor to several information industry journals. He's written several books, including The McGraw-Hill CD ROM Handbook and The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See, co-authored with Gary Price. Chris has written about search and search engines since 1994, when he developed online searching tutorials for several clients. From 1998 to 2001, he was About.com's Web Search Guide.