Ask Dumping Jeeves, New Focus on Search Technology & User Experience
Jeeves is ‘retiring’ from Ask.com in fashion as the IAC owned search company has taken a major step in rebranding its image. Ask.com will be taking a more integrated IAC technology and Web 2.0 route with their rebranding, and the loss of Jeeves may bring the arrival of Bloglines and other IAC owned services into the Ask.com search experience. Even as they give Jeeves the boot, Ask is showcasing the arsenal of search services they have added over the past two years including Desktop, Personal, Image, and Ask Smart Answers.
Saturday on the Ask Jeeves Blog, Jim Lazone gives a couple of paragraphs of heart felt goodbye to the symbol of the search company which helped differentiate its technology from Altavista, Infospace, Inktomi and Excite in the 90’s:
As many of you have heard by now, in the near future we’ll be saying goodbye to our corporate icon of 10 years… It’s funny, when you consider that he’s just a static drawing of a butler-ish figure on a website (and that he was very nearly a “wise owl” or a “wizard” rather than a butler), how much the Jeeves character has come to mean for people over the years.
Then Jim jumps right into the new Ask.com and its marketing message of usability, services, and relevant search as opposed to a cartoon character :
As we’ve said many times, and many of you have kindly said for us, the search engine today is leaps and bounds better than the old one. Not only are we solid on the basics, but we’ve also been one of the leading innovators in search. Beyond our differentiated algorithmic search, we have the most differentiated SERPs of the major engines, with Zoom related search, Binoculars, MyJeeves, and Smart Answers all integrated significantly into our pages. Heck, now we even have the fewest ads above the fold of the major engines. Per Keynote, this paid off with the most significant gains in search quality and brand perception between 2004 and 2005 among the major search engines. Per comScore, we’ve also had the largest percentage gains in market share year on year.
When it comes to our product, we’re continuously evolving and improving. Our brand deserves a clean break to open people up to seeing how good we are.
So, we’re going to take the leap and strike out for a fresh identity, one that fits more with who we’ve become than who we used to be. One that revolves more around the site, and what it does for our users, rather than around a character.
One thing that won’t change with our new brand will be our focus on making search better for real people, from heavy searchers to new searchers. Our best innovations have been inspired by this approach to usability. How do people really search and what tools do they really need to be more effective?