Ask Jeeves is on a mission to be indispensable – Times Online

According to the Times Online Ask Jeeves is on a mission to be indispensable. The article highlights the hiring of former Google employee, Cesar Mascaraque, who is tasked with leading a revival of the search engine’s fortunes. Mascaraque brought back Jeeves to the UK and it’s associated marketing campaign but importantly backed up the hype with major improvements in Ask’s core search technology.

“Relevancy — that is, getting the right answers — speed and the site interface — these are what makes a good search engine,” says Mascaraque.

Search times are down from 1.2 seconds to under half a second, relevancy is better and the site’s home page is simpler and easily personalized. The “question of the day” feature supplies actual answers rather than just links to sites where you might find the answer. Amusingly today’s question is “Am I better than Google?” to which Jeeves answers:
“I’d like to think so, I’ll get your questions answered and I’m devilishly handsome even if I do say so myself
If you like numbers you may be interested to know that in a blind trial 81% of users either prefer Ask Jeeves or couldn’t tell the difference between Ask Jeeves and Google for the majority of the time*. So why not give me a try.”
* Data from a trial conducted for Ask Jeeves by Ipsos Mori on 1000 users
between July 1st and July 14th 2009

The Times reports that Ask is the third biggest UK search engine, with Google dominating 90% of the UK search market, Bing with 6 – 7% and Ask with 3 – 4%, which leaves Yahoo with less than 1%. So is Yahoo on the ropes now? It seems so, as even Yahoo are turning to Google for search solutions, as the recent deal for the BT Yahoo! portal to use Google search shows.

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