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Ask Jeeves Introduces Zoom and Web Answers

Thursday, May 26, 2005 - 05:35

OAKLAND, Calif., May 26, 2005 -- Ask Jeeves, Inc. (ASKJ) today introduced two new search products on Ask Jeeves(R) (www.ask.com), which increase relevance and guide users to find the information they need faster: "Zoom," a next-generation related-search tool that gives users suggestions to narrow or expand their searches; and "Web Answers," which provides direct answers harvested in real time from the billions of Web pages in the Ask Jeeves index.

 

"Today's launches significantly advance the cause of some of our most popular search features," said Jim Lanzone, senior vice president of search properties. "Zoom and Web Answers are not bells and whistles; they are important innovations on some of our core search technologies, which will help our users find what they need faster than with other search engines."

Zoom and Web Answers are immediately available on Ask Jeeves.

Zoom: Concept Navigation

Zoom is a new concept navigation tool that offers suggestions to narrow and refine your search ("zooming in"), or expand your search ("zooming out") to explore new ideas. It can even identify specific names related to your original search. Zoom is visually represented on the Ask Jeeves results page with suggestions that are categorized on the right side of the page into Narrow Your Search, Expand Your Search and Related Names.

Zoom takes advantage of, and builds on, the unique clustering ability of the company's Teoma search technology, which breaks the Web into topic communities. Zoom examines the relationships between these communities to identify and present conceptually-related topics to the searcher.

For example, with the query "Beatles," zooming in with Narrow Your Search returns "Beatles Lyrics," "Beatles History," "Beatles and Biographies" and "Beatles Wallpaper." Alternatively, by zooming out with Expand Your Search, suggestions include "Rolling Stones," "Led Zeppelin," "Beach Boys," "Woodstock," and even "1960's" to help users clarify what they are looking for. Meanwhile, Related Names is able to isolate "John Lennon," "Ringo Starr," "Paul McCartney" and "George Harrison" as relevant suggestions.

Thanks to the Teoma methodology, Zoom is able to identify concepts, and thereby recommend conceptually-related suggestions that would not be available from current clustering technologies.

"Searchers don't want to spend time to formulate and enter involved search terms. As a result, queries are frequently short or ambiguous," said Daniel Read, vice president of product management at Ask Jeeves. "Zoom brings recommended queries to the user-suggestions that allow searches to be refined, or associated topics explored, with a click of a button. Zoom guides users to exactly what they are looking for fast."

Try:
-- "Raleigh"
-- "prozac"
-- "pink floyd"
-- "hot air balloon"
-- "brooklyn bridge"
-- "Beatles"

Web Answers: Direct Answers from Billions of Web Pages

Ask Jeeves helped pioneer the concept of directly answering users' search queries with its Smart Search technology, which mines structured data for direct answers. Web Answers extends Ask Jeeves' direct-answering abilities by mining unstructured data in real time. The new capability increases relevance by finding answers hidden within regular Web pages. Thus, the potential sources for direct answers now include the billions of pages in the Ask Jeeves search index.

"Web Answers allows Ask Jeeves to answer far more queries than would be possible using editors or structured databases," continued Read. "By mining unstructured Web data, we can tap the billions of pages in our index for answers."

Web Answers is uniquely presented to the user as the top organic search result on the Ask Jeeves results page. The result is labeled as a "Web Answer," and the "answer" is highlighted in context within the snippit or description of the Web page. A user can then link through to the site to view the source. When multiple answers are found, users are able to view an expanded list of answers, as defined by the Web at-large.

In user testing, Ask Jeeves found that Web Answers improved the click-through rate on the top search result by over 200%.

Web Answers is triggered by questions, phrases or keywords. Try:

-- "who was the leader of the pilgrims"
-- "Deadliest snake"
-- "who invented television"
-- "largest lake in the world"
-- "what is data mining"

About Ask Jeeves, Inc.

As the 6th largest global web property (ComScore Media Metrix, March 2005), Ask Jeeves Inc. delivers world-class information retrieval products through a diverse portfolio of Web sites, portals and downloadable applications. Ask Jeeves' search and search-based portal brands include: Ask Jeeves (Ask.com, Ask.co.uk and es.Ask.com), the Ask Jeeves Japan joint venture (Ask.jp), Ask Jeeves for Kids (AJKids.com), Bloglines (bloglines.com), Excite (excite.com), iWon (iwon.com), My Way (myway.com) and Fun Web Products (funwebproducts.com). Additionally, Ask Jeeves owns the differentiated search technology Teoma, as well as natural language processing, portal and ad- serving technologies. Ask Jeeves generates revenue from advertisers seeking to reach the company's broad-based online audience. Founded in 1996, Ask Jeeves has been a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq National Market since July 1999. Its headquarters are located in Oakland, California, with offices throughout the United States, as well as in Europe and Asia. For more information, visit http://www.Ask.com or call 510-985-7400.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements regarding the future are forward-looking statements, including the prediction that Zoom and Web Answers will help our users find what they need faster than with other search engines. The forward-looking statements in this press release are subject to numerous assumptions, risks and other uncertainties and are based on limited information available to Ask Jeeves at this time, which is subject to change. Ask Jeeves' actual results in the future may differ materially from management's current expectations. Although management's expectations and the information known or available to management may change after the date of this release, Ask Jeeves undertakes no obligation to revise or update the guidance or other statements made above. The lack of any revision or update is not meant to imply continued affirmation of guidance or other forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause or contribute to actual results differing from forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to the risks described under the caption "Risk Factors" in Ask Jeeves most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and in subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

NOTE: Ask Jeeves, AJinteractive, Ask.com, Teoma, MyJeeves, My Way, iWon, Excite and Bloglines are trademarks or registered trademarks of Ask Jeeves, Inc.

Patrick Crisp of Ask Jeeves, Inc, +1-510-985-7696, or Patrick@askjeeves.com; or Kerr Coulter of Dotted Line Communications, +1-415-440-2709, or kerry@dottedlinecomm.com, for Ask Jeeves, Inc.

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