Ask Jeeves Buys Desktop Search Company

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-06-09 Print this article Print

The search company says the acquisition of startup Tukaroo will help it develop an application for searching desktop files as well as the Web.

Ask Jeeves Inc., a Web search company competing against Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc., continued it expansion with the acquisition on Wednesday of a desktop search company. Emeryville, Calif.-based Ask Jeeves announced that it has purchased the assets of Tukaroo Inc., a San Jose, Calif., startup that was developing software for searching the desktop and managing files. Ask Jeeves didnt disclose terms of the purchase, which has closed, but a spokeswoman said Ask Jeeves plans to incorporate Tukaroos technology into its plans to eventually offer a desktop search application. She said it was too early to say when such an offering would be available.
"We expect that Tukaroos desktop search and information management capabilities will enable Ask Jeeves to deliver a seamless, end-to-end search experience across the desktop and the Internet," said Ask Jeeves CEO Steve Berkowitz, in a statement.
The desktop has become one of the next major targets of major Web search engines. Google in November launched a test version of the Google Deskbar, which adds shortcuts to its Web search to the Windows desktop, and reportedly is working on a broader application for searching files on users hard drives. In March, Terra Lycos HotBot search site unveiled a new browser-based toolbar that also searches hard-drive content. The Tukaroo purchase follows Ask Jeeves completion in May of another acquisition—that of Interactive Search Holdings Inc.—that doubled its market share in Web search and added a set of Web portals and the MaxOnline advertising network to its portfolio. Interactive Search Holdings properties included sites Excite and iWon. In a recent interview with, Berkowitz said Ask Jeeves plans to develop search applications for the desktop with the goal of extending search beyond the unstructured data on the Web to other data often locked up in databases and in desktop files and e-mails. "Search needs to be an end-to-end function," he said. "Its about information retrieval." Tukaroo, a private company, had yet to launch a product, an Ask Jeeves spokeswoman said. Two of its developers will join Ask Jeeves. Check out eWEEK.coms Enterprise Applications Center at for the latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion about productivity and business solutions. Be sure to add our enterprise applications news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page:  
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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