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Thursday, May 26, 2005

New Ask Jeeves Features

Ask Jeeves has added some new features to the right-hand side of its search results. Try searching for “Beatles”, for example, and you will see suggestions to narrow your search (like Beatles Lyrics), to expand your search (like Rolling Stones), and to find out about related names (like John Lennon or Paul McCartney).

John Battelle is also talking about a “best answer” feature (similar to Google’s Q&A) which I can’t seem to access from the main search, e.g. for “Who shot JFK”. Nathan Weinberg points to this result page with answers like:

The problem with Ask’s narrow/ expand results at the moment is that while the idea is interesting, the relevancy and accuracy is not always very high. Entering “Who shot John Lennon”, I get a suggestion to expand my search to “Who Shot Martin Luther King” (which makes sense) but also “How many moons does Jupiter have” or “What River Flows South to North.” Narrowing down search results looks more relevant. The following clustered result list can be clicked on to start a new search:

Even then, the new search will still only return back an Ask Jeeves result. The core thus is to optimize the original result, and deliver the best possible page for “Who shot John Lennon” – a task which so far, Google and Yahoo are considered to be best at.

On a related note, Search Engine Watch Blog reports Ask Jeeves is pondering a name change – like just dropping either “Ask” or “Jeeves” from the name. (At the moment, and both point to the butler, but doesn’t.)

Last not least, Ask released the B-Sides to their Jeeves 9000 April Fool’s joke [MOV]...


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