In what appears to be another attempt to outshine rivals Yahoo! and Google in the search market, Ask Jeeves has added a couple of new features to its ever-growing search engine capabilities. The company has long operated in the shadows of the larger search providers, despite financial success of its own.
Of these new features, one, called Zoom, builds on Jeeves' long-standing clustering technology, which analyzes search results into concepts or ideas related to any given query. Zoom lets searchers narrow or broaden the field of search results, as well as view results for related concepts. For example, for a search on the term "cancer," visitors can narrow it to types of the disease, or they could expand it to related illnesses.
Better Answers to Questions
A second new feature centers on delivering better answers to direct questions -- for instance "Who shot John Lennon?" - - by "cleaning up" the unstructured data on the Web for accurate information.
There's no question to the fact that Ask Jeeves has kept pace in the feature wars of its rivals, but it has yet to win the trend that is the personality of Google or the enormous audience that Yahoo! packs. The thing that I like most about Ask Jeeves (besides the Butler Image), as I am sure most of you do as well, is that they truly understand how the Internet is related through social networks. With this understanding they continue to refine their searching and indexing techniques to better fit the needs of these social networks. This alone is what makes their search engine results editorially different and easier to navigate through than say those of Google's or Yahoo!'s.
Needless to say, I believe that this is the year of the butler. As long as Ask Jeeves continues to improve on their core search technology and produce the advanced features, like those discussed above, than I have no doubt that they will receive the true recognition they deserve. Its just about that time for good o;' Jeeves to leap out of the shadows and into the mist of what is turning out to be a true search engine war.