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Ask Jeeves Introduces Zoom and Web Answers

on 27 May  Posted by Admin  Category: Search Engines  
New Products Help Searchers Find More Relevant Search Results Faster

OAKLAND, Calif., May 26, 2005 -- Ask Jeeves, Inc. (ASKJ) today introduced two new search products on Ask Jeeves(R) (, 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."

-- "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 trigger