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February 27, 2005

Volare, Ohhhhhh!

Antonio Gulli Pisa

Ask Jeeves is excited to welcome Antonio Gulli and his team in Pisa, Italy to the Teoma Search team. Antonio is an experienced and accomplished entrepreneur, researcher, businessman, and software artist. He will be relocating to our search facility in Piscataway, New Jersey, while the team remains behind to open the doors of our new Pisa office.

Antonio was the creator of the first Italian Search engine in 1998, Arianna, and he was CEO/CTO of Ideare (sold to Tiscali S.p.a. in 2001) where he created products such as audio, video, and image search. Antonio has recently been working on a PhD in Pisa, researching the areas of Information Retrieval, Web Clustering, and Web Ranking technologies. You can explore his areas of research and play with the applications that he has developed at http://www.di.unipi.it/~gulli/. (Beware of bad Led Zeppelin music.)

The Teoma engine is a fully internationalized global search product, which recently launched in Japan (http://ask.jp), and will soon continue to expand to worldwide markets. Ask Jeeves seeks highly talented people, wherever they are across the globe, to contribute to the continued excellence of the product.

Keith Hogan
Program Management, Ask Jeeves Search Technology (Teoma)

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February 23, 2005

Rave Reviews

Wired Hearts Bloglines

Congrats to Mark & the Bloglines team on winning the Tech Innovator Award at last night's Wired Rave Awards. They really deserve it. See, I'm not the only one with this unhealthy obsession. ;)

Kudos to Wikipedia and iPodder, two of the other nominees. We're big fans.

As a side note: I'm now up to 147 visits to Bloglines a day. To make time in my schedule, I've switched to drinkable yogurt, am no longer watching ESPNews, and have hired SuperNanny to watch my kids.

Ps. Thanks also to Pandia for naming us runner-up as Best Search Engine of 2004. We've come a long way and are glad the hard work is being appreciated.

Jim Lanzone You like us... you really like us...

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February 18, 2005

President's Day Peek

Jeeves Washington

go to: http://www.archives.gov/exhibit_hall/when_nixon_met_elvis/5364_18.html

             Image Source

As we ease into President's Day weekend, I thought it would be fun to do a bit of a holiday content review. This US holiday is often associated more with things like car deal "blowouts" than Presidents. But when it comes to our fearless leaders, what are people really interested in?   Here's a look.


Top 10 Most Searched For U.S. Presidents on Ask.com 
[Data from 2/1-2/17]

go to: http://home.att.net/~rjnorton/Lincoln77.html

     Image Source

1. Abraham Lincoln

2. George Washington

3. Thomas Jefferson

4. John F. Kennedy

5. George W. Bush

6. Franklin D. Roosevelt

7. John Adams

8. Theodore Roosevelt

9. Bill Clinton

10. Andrew Jackson


As you can see, history beats out current events. Notably, Abraham Lincoln was searched for 3 times more often than George W. Bush. Lots of folks seem to be searching on esoteric Presidential items, as well.

Other Fun Yet Random Presidential Searches

Elvis and Nixon pictures

US president called "The Little Magician"

The 33rd US president

Lincoln's vice-president

How old Is Jimmy Carter?

George Bush age

What does the presidential seal look like?

1600 Pennsylvania Ave Nw, Washington, DC 20006

Harry S. Truman's middle name

Enjoy the long weekend everybody!

Scott Grieder
Product Manager, Ask.com

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February 11, 2005

Mozilla's On Fire

tuoc    mozilla

Two weeks ago, Lanzone and I met with mozilla.org at their office in Mountain View. The main purpose was to discuss Ask Jeeves and mozilla.org working together and how Ask can make contributions to Mozilla that make sense.

I walked into the mozilla office and immediately recognized Chris Hoffman (one of their lead personnel) from my days at Borland. He and I chatted briefly about the Borland days and how so many people ended up at Netscape. I asked about the recent hire of Ben G. (one of Firefox lead developer) by Google. They didn't seem to be upset or too concerned. They said that they have other people who work elsewhere but contributed significantly to mozilla.org. This indicates that they expect Ben to continue contributing and not bring Google's bias into the equation any more than other company sponsored Mozilla contributors.

We went on to discuss three subjects: 1) AJ Desktop Search 2) AJ Leveraging Firefox Browser 3) XUL platform.

We discussed Ask Jeeves desktop search and the notion of open-sourcing it. We're open at two levels. Contributing just the core desktop indexing technology or possibly the entire desktop search application. They discussed how/what they would evaluate before accepting a major piece of code/product contribution: code size, internationalization, etc. Whether or not we partner with Mozilla on this effort, Chris and team thought it was a good idea for us to pursue overall.

We shared AJ view and support for open source standard, especially on the desktop, and their efforts on Firefox and Thunderbird, both of which I'm impressed with. I shared that Mozilla browser didn't do it for me but Firefox certainly converted many of AJ engineering (including myself) over exclusively to Firefox. We explained that we want to support and leverage Firefox by building extensions to and plug-ins within Firefox. We discussed the fact that it doesn't make sense for us to build a browser from scratch, but we think building Ask specific functionalities on top of Firefox to build an AJ-branded or co-branded browser could make sense in 2005.

Mozilla guys then talked abou XUL and how Firefox and Thunderbird were built using XUL. I was very impressed with the UI capabilities. I mentioned that we have a piece of technology called Octopus that may be very good to integrate into XUL platform. Rafael remembered Octopus because Mark Andreessen was an investor and on Octopus's board. It's ideal as a layer on top of the browser. I thought this could be an interesting extension or integrated into XUL. I said I would demo Octopus to them at some point.

They talked briefly about different vendor participation in different areas like security and so on. The Sunbird calendering project sounds like the next exciting innovation out of this group.

Lots of exciting possibilities to help take back the Web...

Tuoc Luong, EVP Technology

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February 07, 2005

Welcome, Bloglines!

jeeves hearts bloglines

Early last year, Erik Collier, who leads our data engineering group, asked me if I'd tried a web-based feed aggregator called Bloglines. I said I'd read about it but hadn't tried it yet. He told me it was the most addictive site he'd ever used. What was I waiting for?

I've worked in the Internet industry about as long as it's been around, and most of that time I've worked for companies whose job it was, at least in part, to help people find things online. I'm the kind of person who reads every magazine and newspaper I can get my hands on. I even belonged to the secret society of people who were addicted to hitting "refresh" on Drudge over and over.

After one day of using Bloglines, I had to admit, Erik was so right. It quickly became a habit for me to visit - easily - 15 to 20 times a day. I was hooked. Pretty soon, we had an office full of Bloglines disciples.

A few months later, on an excruciatingly hot day in early September, I met Bloglines CEO Mark Fletcher for lunch in my old hometown of San Carlos, CA.

You'll have to check out Winged Pig to see if Mark felt the same way, but from my perspective, we hit it off right away. We had a very practical discussion about the business he was building and how we envisioned feed aggregators, as well as the blogosphere, fitting into the future landscape of the Internet. (In the words of John Battelle, they were going to be a Big Deal.)

I broached the subject of buying them. Ask Jeeves hadn't made any movements into these areas yet, but we were hard at work building MyJeeves and Desktop Search, two pieces of the future landscape, and after we finished, we'd be ready for Step 2. Bloglines would be a crown jewel in Step 2.

"We've already rejected an offer," said Mark.

OK, then.

We spent the better part of Q4 flirting and moving the idea forward. Mark wanted to do more than just get a check for Bloglines and head off for Cabo. He wanted to build it into the "homepage of the 21st century." And he wanted a partner who would be committed to helping him get there.

Thankfully, Mark appreciated the evolution Ask Jeeves has undergone the past two or three years, as a business and a search technology, and he chose us as that partner. In turn, we became the Remington of the Internet. Remember that commercial? "I liked it so much I bought the company." That's us.

So, what are our plans for Bloglines?

First and most importantly, our primary focus will be on building the Bloglines service to fulfill his vision for it, adding resources to their toolbox to get there faster and better.

There will be no short-term changes to Bloglines that weren't already on their roadmap. Over the long-term, Mark will now, as general manager of Bloglines for AJ, Inc., be responsible for that roadmap in the future.

We will take our time determining the optimal business model for the service. We will continue to put the user experience first. As part of a bigger company there will be more options for Bloglines - from indirect monetization (through increased usage of our other brands) to direct if there is a model that makes sense for everyone.

In terms of integration with Ask Jeeves, one of our first priorities will be to pair the Bloglines team with our Teoma search technology team to build world-class blog search. We'll also help distribute Bloglines to a broader audience, from MyJeeves to the portal properties we own that collectively make Ask Jeeves the 7th ranked property on the Web.

We welcome any and all comments and advice from Bloglines fans out there. We've seen, heard, and appreciated the sentiments you've expressed this past weekend. Please let us know your thoughts by posting your comments below.

Jim Lanzone
SVP, Search Properties and Bloglines Addict ("Hello, Jim")

PS - Merch Alert! The first 200 people who email us with their name, address, and t-shirt size, will receive an "I Love Bloglines" t-shirt emblazoned with the design above. Send your email to Paul Loeffler at: ploeffler@askjeeves.com and he'll take care of you.

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February 03, 2005

JeevesGuy Exposed!

JeevesGuy?Kaushal Kurapati

At last we have a blog!  Now it's my turn. 

Hello everyone.  My name is Kaushal Kurapati.  Some of you might know me as JeevesGuy.   

Not anymore. I'm here to announce that it is time to bid goodbye to JeevesGuy. Adios!

The curtain comes down on our public voice on many forums for a while now: me. This does not mean we/I will stop communicating with members of the search community.  Instead, due to the enthusiastic response we got when some Jeeves-ians (We don't really have a name like "Googler" for people here.  Will that do?) posted as themselves recently, we have decided to begin posting on the forums using our own names. 

I say "names" plural, because we're also going to start having other people post besides me.  I'll still do the majority of them, but I have a day job, too!  This will enable the appropriate product owners and engineers to respond accurately and quickly to user comments on the forums. We look forward to this rich, open dialogue.

Here's a link to my first post as myself.

See you at SES NYC.  Come up and say hi!

Kaushal Kurapati
Search Product Manager

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February 02, 2005

Hey, Look What We Found: The Official Ask Jeeves Blog!

So, we're finally settling in from our HQ move in December, and look what we found between server racks 12 & 13: The Ask Jeeves Blog!

When I was invited to post the first entry for Ask Jeeves, I agreed right away. I've been pushing for this ever since they caught me desperately trying to deliver my engineering projects on time while also keeping my feed aggregator numbers low (you know the little number next to the feed title that makes you feel like a neglectful parent when it starts to climb too high). But, I'm actually more of an avid blog reader (is that a bleader?) who dabbles in photo blogging, so I'll just do a short entry about the new office and show you some pics. Check back in the next couple of days for more newsworthy updates than mine.

Ask Jeeves originally started in a yellow two-story building on Parker Street in Berkeley. Then we moved to a four-story brick building in Emeryville. The new building is 21 stories and rumor has it our logo will "adorn" the side of the building at some point. That way everyone on 880 heading to the Bay Bridge can be reminded that the East Bay can bring technology too, baby (I'm an East Bay native so I'm partial). Of course, we only have 2.5 floors of the building right now. But there's always room for more!

Downtown Oakland is definitely an upgrade from Emeryville in terms of accessibility and public transport. There's no Ikea or Pixar, but there are a lot more restaurants we can walk to - including Top Dog, hello!  And hey, my office has a window this time. The weirdest thing about moving is being in a new office with all the same people. When I sat down to my desk the first time, I got a strange sense that I started a job at a new company but everyone else I worked with came along too. It might take a while but it's starting to feel like home.

Here are more photos. I hope you enjoy the Blog.

Erik Collier, Data Engineering Manager

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Opinions expressed here and in any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors, not of IAC Search & Media and may not have been reviewed in advance.

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