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News: Jeeves Stretches Out, Gets Personal

By - September 20, 2004

jeevesnewAsk Tuesday is launching several new features on its site (release in extended entry), but none more interesting to me than its “MyJeeves” play. What is MyJeeves? Well, it ain’t MyYahoo. It’s more like MySearch. Call it A9 meets Furl meets Ask, if you will.

This space is getting hot and heavy, and from the stuff I’ve been briefed on that is coming from other players, it’s only getting more interesting (in other words, look for related news from other search engines in the coming days and weeks).

With MyJeeves, Ask is laying the foundation for a very serious play in what I’ve called the PersonalWeb, In fact, when I was briefed today by Jim Lanzone, the VP of Search at Ask, he used that very term over and over to describe what MyJeeves creates for its users. In short, MyJeeves allows you to save results, annotate them, and then manage them in your own personal folders. Those results (and the annotation) are then searchable (as they are with A9).

Unlike A9, you can start to use the advanced features of MyJeeves without signing up for the service, though you’ll probably want to. Once you do, you get unlimited storage of saved results, and…pay attention here…your search history. Yes, that’s right, Ask becomes the second major company (and the first major search player) to lay out search history as a critical new feature of its site.

Lanzone calls the PersonalWeb the “coup de grace” of MyJeeves. “It’s like creating your own web index,” he told me, adding that once MyJeeves is in place, Ask has visualized “where we go from here: we have a significant roadmap around MyJeeves and we view this as a first step of a long staircase.”

askhistorySo, I asked, does MyJeeves save just the URL of a page, or does it archive a copy of the page, like Furl does? Well, for now, it just saves the URL, but Lanzone told me in the very near future, it will save a copy – meaning that one of my holy grails – the integration of search with perfect copies of what I’ve seen on the web – will soon come to pass.

But wait, there’s more. Ask also announced that its anticipated desktop product, (acquired when the company purchased Tukaroo) will launch in the fourth quarter, and that it will be incorporated into the MyJeeves interface environment. That means another one of my holy grails – integrating web search with my hard drive – is also on the march at Ask. Cool.

Ask has a lot of other news packed into today’s announcement. Besides MyJeeves, the company announced “version 3.0″ of Teoma, its indexing technology. Ask claims improved relevance, freshness, new internationalized support, and an expanded index (more than 2 billion English web pages, climbing to 2.5 billion later in the year). Version 3 will also include caching, which is required, of course, to support the Furl-like qualities of MyJeeves.

Ask also announced “new and improved” local search, with a major score by our buddy Rich Skrenta, whose Topix.net will power local news results for Ask Local. Ask also confirmed widely reported news that Citysearch listings are now integrated into the Local index.

And lastly, as you can see from the image above, Ask’s butler is back. He’s been put on a diet, hit the gym, gotten a tan and scored some better clothes. Svelte, baby.

So what does this all mean? Well, this is a big deal, certainly. It marks yet another major step in the progression of search from the C prompt days of yore toward a more robust platform for navigating our increasingly complicated information-drenched lives. I only hope that Ask, A9, Furl, and all the rest keep on keeping on, and are content with singles and doubles as we move forward. There won’t be any home runs for now – none of these features are big enough to warrant a Google Moment like we had in 2000-2001. However, they all point to an incredibly robust future – and by the way, a future in which personal publishing is very much integrated into search, and vice versa. Just a thought, but once a critical mass of folks are saving searches, search results, annotations, and the like, sure as shit they’ll want to share them, publish them, and cite them (and sure as shit, engines will want to crawl em for relevance mojo). Just watch as search, blogging, and RSS start to feed off one another. It makes my brain hurt to think of the possibilities. But in a good way, of course….

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Contacts:
Patrick Crisp Darcy CobbAsk Jeeves, Inc Dotted Line Communications (for Ask Jeeves, Inc)510-985-7696310-472-8600patrick@askjeeves.comdarcy@dottedlinecomm.com

Ask Jeeves Gets More Personal, More Local and More Relevant

MyJeeves, New Local Search and Teoma 3.0 Technology Unveiled

Emeryville, CA – September 21 – Ask Jeeves, Inc. (Nasdaq: ASKJ), a leading provider of information retrieval brands, technologies, and advertising services today announced a series of new products for its flagship search engine, Ask Jeeves (www.Ask.com). The new products include the MyJeeves personal search system, robust local search, and the next generation of its proprietary Teoma search technology. In conjunction with these announcements, the company debuted a sleeker, more contemporary Jeeves butler, whose redesign is more reflective of the Ask Jeeves world-class search experience. (See related release, Jeeves Receives Makeover.)

“This launch immediately delivers a better experience for our users in several important areas, and lays the groundwork for us to fulfill our vision for search in new ways,” said Jim Lanzone, senior vice president of search properties. “Customer satisfaction and user frequency of Ask Jeeves are at all time highs as we continue to launch products and features that help people find information in a smarter, more intuitive way.”

MyJeeves: Your Personal Web
MyJeeves enables people as they search to create their own “Personal Web:” a compilation of search queries and search results that they can easily save, categorize into folders, annotate, and share. A free service, MyJeeves is seamlessly integrated into the Ask.com search experience and does not require registration. It is not available on any other major search engine.

MyJeeves allows users to save search results simply by clicking a Save button located next to each search result on Ask.com. Once saved, MyJeeves users can easily organize or group items into folders, print them, share them via email, and add notes to create their own descriptions of Web pages. The newly resulting list of documents is searchable within MyJeeves ( distinct from the overall Web index) thus creating a personal Web index. A user’s notes about a page become searchable metadata for each page, improving relevance, especially important as an individual’s volume of saved information grows.

“MyJeeves allows Web users to save time by saying goodbye to archaic, rudimentary or ad hoc methods for keeping found data found,” said Daniel Read, vice president of product management at Ask Jeeves, Inc. “Plus, we’ve eliminated all the barriers to entry: Users do not need to pay a fee, install any software application, select settings and preferences, or register for anything. Every Ask Jeeves user can immediately take advantage of the MyJeeves personalization system to save, organize, retrieve and use Web data they want to find again.”

While not required, registration for MyJeeves provides additional advantages. Registered users can access MyJeeves from any Internet-enabled computer and receive additional storage for their personal Web documents. These users also benefit from increased privacy via password protection. In addition, MyJeeves automatically saves each search query registered users execute, an option which can be toggled on or off, saving this useful data for later. Registration requires only a password and an active email address, providing a username is optional.

To learn more about MyJeeves and how easy it is to create and use your Personal Web, visit www.Ask.com and click the “Take the MyJeeves tour” link.

New and Improved Local Search
Ask Jeeves is also launching robust local search capabilities in response to the high frequency of user searches for local services and information on the site. Through a partnership with CitySearch, which as announced in August, Ask Jeeves users now have access to comprehensive local business listings and data, including over 2 million editorial and user reviews and ratings. Collected over the last 8 years, this content-rich data is seamlessly integrated with other local features, including Maps and Driving Directions.

The local search launch also boasts a new local news product, powered by Topix.net, available in the News channel of Ask.com. These new capabilities complement existing local features including Weather People Search Movies and more.

Local features previously offered on Ask Jeeves have included Maps, Driving Directions, Weather, People Search, Movies and more.

“Local is about much more than business listings,” continued Read. “We’ve combined each of these components into a tightly integrated product that delivers a local offering that rivals any product in the market.”

• Business Listings: Try “pizza in chicago”
• Local Smart Search: Try “Lexington”
• Maps: Try “maps San Francisco”

Teoma 3.0
Ask Jeeves also announces the official launch of Teoma® 3.0 search technology.

Based on social networking theory, Teoma technology takes a unique approach to relevancy ranking. Like some search engines, Teoma utilizes a form of link popularity to assist in page ranking, but Teoma doesn’t stop there: It goes a step further to analyze each page’s reputation among experts on a given topic to determine relevancy. With this proprietary, patent-pending Subject-Specific Popularity™ technology, Teoma is the first and only search engine to break the Web down into topic-based “communities” of sites, and to give added credibility to those sites respected as authorities on a particular subject. Fittingly, Teoma means “expert” in Gaelic.

The first publicly disclosed upgrade to Teoma in over a year, Teoma 3.0 provides many improvements, including:

• Increased Relevance — Ask Jeeves has introduced improvements to the core Teoma algorithms, including enhanced ability to classify content in order to better assess authority.
• Improved Freshness — Teoma 3.0 provides major upgrades to the engine’s ability to return recent news and information, including daily crawls of popular, news, and other important sites. Teoma 3.0 features a newly designed architecture that will accelerate continued improvements in freshness in the months ahead.
• Expanded Index — The Teoma index has surpassed 2 billion English-only Web documents, and will exceed 2.5 billion by year’s end. The new database size is determined after the strict removal of spam, duplicates and pornographic results.
• International —Teoma 3.0 technology supports double-byte Asian languages, enabling the recent beta launch of Ask Jeeves Japan (Ask.jp), the first non-English based Teoma index.
• Features – Teoma 3.0 will include the addition of several new features, including:
− Page Cache — Teoma 3.0 includes cached versions of popular sites. This feature is expected to launch in Q4.
− Related Search –Ask Jeeves will debut multiple types of Related Search on Ask.com, through the Teoma 3.0 technology. This feature will launch in Q4.
− File Types – Teoma 3.0 includes the addition of Flash and PDF files. These file types are already available on Ask.com, and Ask Jeeves will, in future releases, provide the ability to restrict searches to these types of files.

Desktop

Ask Jeeves also confirmed today that it will deliver its desktop search product to the market during Q4.

About Ask Jeeves, Inc.
Ask Jeeves, Inc. provides consumers and advertisers with information retrieval products across a diverse portfolio of Web sites, portals and desktop search applications. Ask Jeeves’ search and search-based portal brands include: Ask Jeeves (Ask.com and Ask.co.uk); Ask Jeeves for Kids (AJKids.com); Excite (excite.com); iWon (iwon.com); My Search (mysearch.com); My Way (myway.com); My Web Search (mywebsearch.com) and Teoma (teoma.com). Ask Jeeves also owns the search technology Teoma, proprietary natural language processing technology, as well as portal and ad serving technologies. In addition to powering several of the Ask Jeeves brands, the Company syndicates its technologies to help companies increase revenue through powerful search. Ask Jeeves’ advertising services, which includes Ask Jeeves, The Excite Network, and MaxOnline, provides advertisers with targeted tools to reach a broad base of highly valuable customers. Ask Jeeves, Inc. is headquartered in Emeryville, California, with offices throughout the United States, as well as in London, Dublin, and Tokyo. For more information, visit http://www.Ask.com or call 510-985-7400.

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NOTE: Ask Jeeves, Ask.com, Teoma, My Way, My Search, My Web Search, iWon, Excite and MaxOnline are trademarks or registered trademarks of Ask Jeeves, Inc.


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5 thoughts on “News: Jeeves Stretches Out, Gets Personal

  1. Mike says:

    As you say, ” a future in which personal publishing is very much integrated into search, and vise versa”.

    Ultimately relevancy will be the winner when the engines can mine the cache of targeted groups.

    A gigantic Epinions except the opinions will be backed by consensus from a dozen angles.

    This is an exciting time.

  2. I see things much differently. Ask Jeeves drives a higher % of its searches to paid search click throughs than any other major search engine (70%+ vs

  3. Plus, I think their “charity” thing with the Red Cross is a total sham. Ask Jeeves is effectively donating their advertisers’ money, encouraging false clicks, and taking a tax write-off in the process. Bad.

  4. Doug Mehus says:

    Also, don’t forget: Ask Jeeves’ search results are the least relevant of the major search engines. Its own Teoma algorithmic search results are even less relevant, in my opinion.

    I don’t consider Ask Jeeves an innovator in the search space — that’s Yahoo! and Google’s domain. The only thing Ask Jeeves does well is operating multi-brand Web portals on the cheap and continuing to increase its audience. It will never be a major player in search though.

    This “new” product is something I’d never use and is a complete waste of time, IMHO. It’s a sham.

    Cheers,
    Doug

  5. My own testing of AJ against Google and Yahoo for my assorted sites shows incredible irrelevance. I’m not complaining that I’m not listed. Jeeves has indexed some of my sites heavily. One domain had to be go to a more expensive hosting plan because of the “Jeeves bot’s” hunger. But the results are silly. Sometimes the first link is to one of my affilate links. OK for making money but hardly the most relevant result.

    And on some searches the paid, er, ‘sponsored’ results are so thick that I didn’t get to the real results until I hit the Page Down key.

    While Jeeves gives a couple of my sites a surprisingly high number of visitors I’d no more use it for searching than I’d ask Bertie Wooster for financial advice.