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The Search for the Best Search Engine

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, August 8, 2002

The continuing search for the best search engine. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Ask Jeeves has been around since 1996... .kind of old in Internet years. It has made its mark by allowing users to type questions in everyday language. A great concept ... .but the site's tendency to return with more questions than answers made it cumbersome to use. Ask Jeeves CEO Skip Battle says it is getting better... with a new feature called direct answer...

"It used to be you would ask a question and we'd come back with confirming questions... you'd select the question that most fit your needs and you'd get an answer to it. Now if you want to know the definition of a word, if you want to know the zip code of a city, if you want to know a number of things... you put your questions in and we'll come back with an answer. So it'll actually be question answering."
And Ask Jeeves is using new technology it acquired called Teoma. You can use Teoma... spelled T E O M A... as a stand alone search engine as well. Can it catch up to Google?

" We have an alternative experience to Google. We have only fifteen percent of our users overlap. We're a guided search. Google is very much sort of a stripped down search.

And Battle believes both have a long way to go...

"Because no one does a great job of searching the Web. We're the second largest, Google is the largest. We're right... both of us are right... probably half the time in terms of the first few answers."

The good news is... they keep searching for ways to get better. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.