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May 26, 2005

AskJeeves answers

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Today at AJ we see the release of two new features. Seeking to give a better result to the user the new features are answers and zoom.

The Zoom service works based on Teoma’s already existing clustering technology. Offering three options–narrow your search, expand search and related names-the service works by identifying communities rather than just synonyms like other services. Searching for “Superman” for example, narrows to the Superman Logo, the History of Superman, the Superman movies, etc. It expands to Smallville, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Superheros and so on. Related names give you Batman, Clark Kent, Christopher Reeve and Marvel heroes, Spiderman and Captain America.

Instead of a simple white box answer, the new answer service works more like Google Q&A, giving the best response then offering further answers once you clickthrough. Putting the query in the form of a question seems more likely to trigger the answers than keywords do. Again to use the “Superman” example, the AJ Answer reads in part “One of the most beloved characters in comic book history, Superman was created in 1938 by artist Joe Shuster and writer Jerry Siegel.”

It’s a nice offering from the newly flush with cash search engine. Hopefully it will entice more people to try out AskJeeves. SEW has a more detailed explanation.

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