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January 26, 2006

Ask Deutschland legt los!

Wir freuen uns mitteilen zu können, dass die Beta Version von Ask Deutschland mit ihren einzigartigen Suchfunktionen nun den deutschen Internet-Benutzern zur Verfügung steht.

Die Beta Site bietet die wesentlichen Ask Suchfunktionen: eine umfassende Suchmaschine, unsere einzigartige algorithmische und auf Themengruppen basierende Suchrangfolge, den personalisierbaren Suchdienst MeinAsk, das Fernglassymbol („Binoculars“) für eine vereinfachte Seitenvoransicht, die Bildersuche, eine Übersetzungsfunktion für Seiten, den Bloglines Notifier und einen familienfreundlichen Filter, der eingeschaltet werden kann, um Erwachseneninhalt aus den Suchergebnissen auszufiltern. Ask Jeeves plant, im Lauf der nächsten Monate weitere Produkte seiner US-Version – mit Features wie News, lokale Suche, Produktsuche und Smart Search – Schritt für Schritt für die deutschen Benutzer bereitzustellen. Im Sommer soll die Beta Version von Ask Deutschland abgeschlossen sein.

Unsere niegelnagelneue deutsche Site hat bereits für viel Aufmerksamkeit gesorgt. Einer der Gründe dafür ist, dass unsere Partner bei Google ungefähr 85% des Marktanteils in Deutschland beanspruchen und die deutschen Internet-Benutzer begeistert davon sind, dass ihnen nun endlich eine weitere Suchmaschine von Weltklasse zur Verfügung steht. Hier sind einige Stimmen: „Die Suchmaschine Ask Jeeves bietet der Online-Avantgarde eine Nische“, schreibt die „Financial Times Deutschland“. Die „Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung“ meint, dass „Google einen neuen Konkurrenten auf dem deutschen Markt hat“, und dass „Ask … anders als andere Suchmaschinen“ arbeitet. Selbst die weithin respektierte „Die Zeit“ zollte Ask Jeeves in einem kürzlich erschienenen ausführlichen Beitrag Respekt und schrieb, dass unsere Suchmaschine in der Branche als die mit der „innovativsten Technik“ gilt.

Nun ja, schaut mal selbst rein: http://de.ask.com/

Andrea Bindereif
German Product Specialist

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January 25, 2006

Ask Deutschland ist da!

We are delighted to announce the beta of Ask Deutschland and now offer our unique search features to German Internet users.

The beta site features core Ask search tools: a comprehensive search engine, our unique algorithmic search ranking based on the power of topic communities, the personalized search service MeinAsk, Binoculars for easy site previewing, image search, page translation, Bloglines Notifier, and family-friendly filtering for adult content. Ask Jeeves is planning to release more products from its US version - such as News, Local, Product, and Smart Search - step by step over the next few months as we prepare to bring Ask Deutschland out of beta.

Our brand-spanking new German site is already attracting some great attention. One reason is our partners over at Google have about 85% market share in Germany, and people are excited to have another world-class option. Here's what we are hearing: "The search engine Ask Jeeves provides a niche for the Online Avantgarde", says the Financial Times Deutschland. Frankfurter Allgemeine thinks that "Google has a new competitor in the German market", because "'Ask' works different than other search engines". Even Germany's widely respected newspaper, Die Zeit, paid tribute to Ask Jeeves recently with a very detailed story, calling our search engine "the industry's most innovative technology".

Well, take a look for yourself: www.ask.de.

Andrea Bindereif
German Product Specialist

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January 24, 2006

Picture Perfect

Searching for images is the second most popular type of search on Ask Jeeves (behind Web Search, of course!). In fact, sixteen percent of all searches now come from our Pictures channel. That’s why we’re excited about today’s roll out of our proprietary image search technology that focuses directly on improving this high-usage area of the site.

The new technology combines several key features:

- A broad depth of coverage and a high degree of image variety;

- Continued development of Ask.com’s widely acclaimed method of identifying authoritative sources and hubs to bring the highest relevance;

- New patent-pending techniques for analyzing images, quality, and content as an additional measure for ranking;

- Zoom related search for images, a terrific new navigation feature, specifically tuned for images;

- Improved Image Smart Answers that extends our vertical improvements to the general web search experience

We hate to toot our own horn, but we really have the best Picture Search service on the Web today.

How do we do it? Here’s a high level overview.

As we crawl the Web, we identify those sites that have a broad representation of images and topics, and then weigh more heavily those sites with topic authority. As a further step, we apply sophisticated image recognition technologies to ensure that the best images rise to the top. The combination offers the best in relevance and variety.

Finally, as an added bonus, we’ve rolled out our Zoom related search for Images.

What is Zoom related search for Images?

Let me show you an example. Do an image search for Bondi Beach. You can see that we provide a great set of relevant images, page after page. Now - see the search refinement options on the right hand side? That’s what we call Zoom related search. This feature provides suggested links to expand, narrow, or relate a search to other names. How does Ask Jeeves come up with these terms? We use advanced concept clustering and related concepts to recognize terms that are associated on the Image Web. You’ll only find this on Ask Jeeves.

Check it out, but be warned Zoom related search is an addictive feature.

Other examples I like:

Rickenbacker: This phrase refers to either the guitar or the aviation hero. Our opening pages include both. Our competitors: there is no variety of topic.

Washington: The man, the state, the monument? The opening page provides good variety, and Zoom related search makes some excellent suggestions based on the concept clustering found on the Internet.

Try a few queries of your own and see how our new image search can help you get the most out of the Image Web.

Happy clicking!

James Jeude, Senior Product Manager

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January 16, 2006

Over 1 Billion (Articles) Served

Mark Fletcher already provided a five part blog/novella on wingedpig.com describing the behind-the-scenes details of our recent datacenter move.  But we also wanted to share how the move has improved the health and well-being of Bloglines for our users.

We’re proud to say that Bloglines has experienced tremendous growth, more than tripling subscribers, feeds and articles in less than a year. On January 5th we topped 1 billion articles and we’re currently pulling in new articles at a rate of 3-4 million per day.  For those number naysayers out there, keep in mind that we only keep articles from feeds that users have subscribed to (which also keeps our splog count lean).  For these reasons, we consider ours to be the highest quality blogosphere index that exists.

With the system and hardware upgrades now in place, Bloglines users are experiencing across-the-board performance improvements, including increased freshness and faster page loads.  For example, check out the cliff on this graph, courtesy of GrabPERF, showing how the datacenter move helped us drop our page response time from 0.7 to 0.2 seconds.

Click to see full graph

With the move well behind us, we’ve got a lot more time to spend improving Bloglines.  We’ve been listening to what our users want to see and we’re already working on killer stuff (just wait and see).

The Bloglines team

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January 09, 2006

Hot Topics on the Blogosphere

Did you see Dateline's segment last night on the “Most Blogged-About Topics on the Net”? In case you missed it, their top list included George W. authorizing the NSA to spy on Americans, the tragic miscommunication in the West Virginia mine, Jack Abramoff, Patrick Crenshaw and David Letterman’s interview with Bill O’Reilly. Good stuff.

To help Dateline with the segment, we used the "Most Popular Links" from Bloglines (also found conveniently on the left rail on the Ask Jeeves blog) to create a Top 35 list covering January 1st to the 6th. The list covers a vast realm of topics… everything from technology advancements & hiccups, to blogger ruminations, breaking news and popular entertainment. Below is what we sent to the Dateline producer.

Be sure to check out SNL’s Chronic of Narnia rap (one of my favorites).



Robyn DeuPree,
Bloglines Product Manager

Bloglines Top Stories on the Blogosphere For Week of January 1, 2006

* Coldplay - Band's new CD has rules: No converting to MP3s, no burning to another CD, no use in DVD players and car stereos
* Microsoft Takes Down Chinese Blogger - Microsoft removes Zhao Jing’s blog as a result of pressure from Chinese authorities
* Abramoff Pleads Guilty to 3 Count - Lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleads guilty to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials
* WMF- Windows metafile vulnerability could allow remote code execution
* Media Report Miracle Mine Rescue - Then the Tragic Truth - TV and newspaper reporters announce the survial of 12 West Viginia miners and later found out the information was incorrect
* NSA - Agency gave other U.S. agencies information from surveillance
* The 10/20/30 Rule of PPT - Explanation on how PowerPoint presentations should be utilized when conducting business pitches
* SNL Rap Video - Spoof on “Chronic Of Narnia”
* NBC Changes Official Interview Transcript, Deletes Reference to Bush - NBC takes liberty to delete paragraphs in their transcript referring to Bush’s wiretapping CNN correspondent
* O’Reilly as Guest, Letterman Denounces Iraq War - Letterman enters a heated debate with guest Bill O’Reilly over the war in Iraq and President Bush
* Bush Could Bypass New Torture Ban - Bush issues a “signing statement” of his interpretation on the bill outlawing the torture of detainees, allowing him to bypass the law
* Falling Sand Game - Link to popular Internet game
* Mooning - A Maryland court ruled that mooning is not illegal, but is distasteful
* Josh Whedon - Creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer shares thoughts on future of TV
* Time Wasting Sites - Top 10 time wasting sites on the Net
* Gov. Kathleen Blanco - Remodeling order submitted just after storms
* 911 Call - Police say cat calls 911 to help owner
* Christ Exists - Judge sets preliminary hearing, defendant seeks to prove Christ exists
* AllPeers Firefox Extension - Extension makes the browser even more attractive
* Woman Maries Dolphin - In a simple ceremony, Sharon Tendler becomes the first human to marry a dophin
* Elmo - Toddler's Talking Elmo book asks 'Who Wants To Die?'
* Culture of Life: Pull the plug on conscious patients - Recalling how a concious woman was removed from a respirator and allowed to die
* Blog Design Trends - List of the most current and common blog design trends
* 13 Things That Do Not Make Sense - 13 scientific explanations and anomalies that just don't make sense
* Season in Norway - Blog post containing videos of the four seasons in this Scandinavian country
* Blogger Resolutions - New Year's resolutions for bloggers who want to attract and keep readers
* Barbie - Barbie’s web site promotes gender confusion
* Blonde Joke – A must see, really funny blonde joke
* How To Order Wine Without Looking Like An Asshole - A list of tips on how to order wine for those of us who are not Connoisseur
* The Decade the Blockbuster Died - The number of top blockbuster albums produced this decade drops significantly compared to past decades
* George Bush - Examination of Bush's efforts to make America safer since 9/11
* Brokeback Mountain - Op-ed Larry David refuses to see movie because his self-conscious heterosexuality can't accept subject matter
* Publishers Toss Book Winners - Publishers and agents rejected two Booker prize-winning novels submitted by aspiring authors
* Dick Clark - Dick Clark makes first TV appearance since suffering a stroke

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January 06, 2006

What We're Working On This Week

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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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