It seems that the Ask empire has been quietly innovating while the search engine world focused on the ever public battle between the top 3 search properties. Recently Ask launched “Smart Search” which VP Jim Lanzone noted as “more of an ideology than a brand name”. Smart Search has been implemented to improve the natural-language processing that Ask Jeeves made its name on since its inception. In fact, our informal research at StepForth points to a very admirable job on their part. Type in just about any question into the Ask search field and you will more often than not (finally) get a highly relevant answer. There was a time where the results were simply bunk for any reasonably technical question, however, it appears that Smart Search was an incredibly worthwhile endeavor. Does this mean that Ask will become a going concern again? In a world where high relevancy rules they certainly would but it is anyone’s guess if they are up to the task of siphoning Google’s or Yahoo!’s market share that is so heavily based on user habit.
Thursday, February 26th, 2004