INTERVIEW: Blogging all over the world

With Ask Jeeves finally buying Bloglines.com this week, we spoke to Daniel Read, vice president of product management to see what the new acquisition will mean for both parties.

The story starts six months ago when Ask Jeeves first started talking to Bloglines founder Mark Fletcher. It appears that the two companies had similar values as to how they believe the web will delevop over the coming years and utilising Bloglines userbase and search functions, Ask Jeeves saw the potential.

“We wanted to learn more about this area,” commented Read. “So rather than try and set something up ourselves it made sense to talk to Bloglines. What we liked the most was how the system [Bloglines] took out the complexity of viewing the thousands of blogs and rss feeds now available on the internet.”

Blogs are the fastest thing online at the moment with a recent survey carried out in America by the American research company; Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The results suggested that over 7% of American, some 8 million people, run a web log, no longer hobbies and interest - this is big business.

It's clear to see what's so attractive to “a would be” investor. Bloglines states on its homepage that it offers users the chance to search 291,230,109 articles from blogs and rss feeds around the world.

Three days into the arrangement and implantation of each other's services is already happening. Ask Jeeves has already incorporated its Teoma 3.0 Search algorithm to improve searching abilities within Bloglines. So where next. It seems Read and the company have plenty of plans:

“We want to keep Bloglines running a separate entirety, just as we do other companies that we run. Mark Fletcher will still stay at the helm and continue to grow the platform and the brand. However that's isn't to say that we won't be introducing that technology into areas within the Ask Jeeves website. In particular the creation of a My Jeeves page similar to the My Yahoo service.”

Its an interesting proposition and one that Yahoo has spent time perfecting over the years it has been running the service. Ask Jeeves is obviously keen to build on this and rather like the currently user homepage within Bloglines add its own favour to it, most likely via the My Jeeves service that it is currently testing in both the UK and America.

“Personalisation is the key and the My Jeeves and Bloglines software will allow us to achieve that.” said Read.

The My Jeeves service allows to Save and organize your results and searches from previous searches you've done before.

But its not just the My Yahoo model the American company is after, seeing the success and the popularit of Google News, Ask Jeeves, who currently use the moreover news aggregation service to generate its news pages, will also be turning to the huge power of the Bloglines feeds to increase its breath in news sources that it picks from.

“Bloglines has the potential to become so much bigger than it currently is,” comments Read once more. “We hope that it will eventually become the Blog search engine of choice on the net.”

It's early days yet, but perhaps its what Ask needs to raise its profile into a search engine that has what it takes to match the big three. Perhaps rss and weblogs are going to be the way we get our news in the future and the search engine will be at the core of helping us find these posts rather than the random pages they sometimes churn out. Will this elevate Ask Jeeves into a position to take on Yahoo, MSN and Google. Personally we don't think so just yet, but then its still early days in the partnership of Ask Jeeves and Bloglines.com.


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