Ask Jeeves Joins Quest for Desktop Search Dominance
Wed Dec 15, 2:07 PM ET
Jason Lopez, http://www.newsfactor.com
Ask Jeeves (Nasdaq: ASKJ – news) will launch its own desktop search tool on Wednesday, amid the hoopla over similar announcements from Google, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT – news) and Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO – news). The Ask Jeeves desktop application is based on technology it obtained through the acquisition of privately owned Tuckaroo in June.
The company expects to offer a search application that works seamlessly between the Web and the desktop in 2005. The initial offering, however, is a beta version that is not integrated with the Ask Jeeves Teoma search engine.
Importance of Being There
The search engine vendors are shifting their focus to the desktop in an effort to be the first to capture users’ attention. Rather than waiting for a user to launch a search engine and click through to a Web page, Ask Jeeves and its competitors aim to show up with desktop search software right after the computer is turned on.
It is unlikely desktop search tools can make any money by themselves. “Loyalty on the desktop translates into loyalty on the Internet,” Forrester analyst Charlene Li told NewsFactor.
She adds that the new desktop search emphasis is more than a play for mere visibility. The presentation and functionality of a desktop application could attract users to select the same vendor’s tool for Web searches.
The Ask Jeeves Desktop Search tool is not yet integrated with Teoma for seamless Web searches, but it has improved features. It returns usable files and shows up on many Windows dialog boxes. Like MSN’s new tool, the Ask Jeeves application handles a variety of file types, including Outlook e-mail.
Ask Jeeves’ Teoma technology has put it in the same league as Google and Yahoo. But Ask Jeeves says it is not enough to develop a search technology. To be competitive, it must be updated constantly.
“Much of search today is focused on finding documents that have similar words or are ranked according to the popularity of links,” said IBM (NYSE: IBM – news) researcher John McPherson. “What we’re aiming for is to find things by understanding the meaning,” he told NewsFactor.
Currently, McPherson is leading the development of IBM’s DB2 Information Integrator Enterprise Search technology.