The news is official. Search engine Ask Jeeves has bought Bloglines. We talked with Jeeves vice president Jim Lanzone and Bloglines founder Mark Fletcher about the deal earlier today. A link to the audio from that interview is below. Lanzone talks about why Bloglines was appealing to Jeeves, and what will happen to Bloglines the service. And Fletcher discusses why, among all the suitors he’s encountered, he went with Ask Jeeves.

Some excerpts from the interview and our story that’s in the Merc:

“Our goal is simply to put a lot of resources into it,” Lanzone said, noting that Bloglines founder Mark Fletcher will continue to oversee development of the service. “We’re going to provide him the resources to pursue his own road map to make it the best service it can be.”

“Our goal here is to invest in Bloglines, not subsume it into Ask Jeeves and have it go away and never be seen again. Not to slap our logo everywhere and certainly not start slapping ads on it and to kill it with monetization.”

Down the road, Lanzone said, Ask Jeeves will look at opportunities to merge the Bloglines service into Ask Jeeves’ offerings. He mentioned desktop searching and MyJeeves, a service that allows people to store bookmarks and search results, as “obvious starters.”

Lanzone said he also anticipates working with Fletcher to build a “best-of-breed” blog search tool. Meanwhile, Bloglines will begin to use Ask Jeeves’s Teoma search technology to “turbocharge” its existing blog search feature, Fletcher said. “That’s one of the things that appealed to us in partnering with Ask,” Fletcher said, “is they’ve got this world-class search technology, and we’d really be able to use that to really blow out the search functionality.”

Audio files are available in .wav and AIFF format. (We’re still working on getting iPod audio converted mp3.) The interview is edited down to about 12 minutes from its original length.

Wav file (11mb)

AIFF file (11mb)

Also, Lanzone discusses the deal on the Jeeves blog. Fletcher gives his take here.