A new search engine promises to give schoolchildren results from sites pre-screened by teachers and librarians.
Time Warner Inc.'s AOL launched StudyBuddy in time for the school year. It is free, though a premium version with more resources is available for $4.95 a month. Users of StudyBuddy can even choose a grade range, such as K-2, to narrow choices even more.
June Herold, AOL's vice president for education and consumer services, said StudyBuddy was a response to complaints that because regular search engines have to cater to so many needs, results aren't as useful for homework.
AOL has partnered with content providers like encyclopedias to provide information. It also refers to homework-friendly sites, such as the Smithsonian Institution, NASA and the Library of Congress. Herold said AOL has two librarians on staff and an outside panel of educators to vet sites.
StudyBuddy is among the latest of AOL's efforts to boost advertising dollars through free services. The site, however, carries fewer ads than most other AOL sites, and none on the home page.