I am going to say right off the bat that Ask Jeeves has improved by leaps and bounds. They have been using new technology to make information more accessible and have been doing it with style. Now it is time to see if they can break us from the Google habit…
Five years ago, most people had all but given up on Ask Jeeves, the dot-com-era Internet answer service. But that’s when Steve Berkowitz says he made the smartest career move of his life — he accepted a job as president of Ask Jeeves’ Web properties (he’s now chief executive officer).
Fast forward to 2006. Now part of IAC/InterActiveCorp, Barry Diller’s Internet empire, the search engine is revamped, has a new name — Ask.com — and is winning over critics and gaining market share. Technology mavens have praised the company’s search results as equal to and sometimes better than Google’s.
“When I joined Ask, I thought there are only two places the company can go, it can go up or it can go out of business,” Berkowitz said.
The Mercury News recently talked to Berkowitz about Ask Jeeves’ turnaround.
Q Why did you decide to join Ask Jeeves?
A I came from the technology and reference book publishing business. The idea behind the Dummies books, which we published, was always the idea of making the information more accessible to people. I was at a point in my life where I wanted to know: Was I good at what I did because I had been in the book business so long or because I understood business?
Q You embraced a company focused on Internet search at a time when belief in Web-based businesses had collapsed. Why?
A One of the most successful features of technology books, of reference books, is the index itself. When you go into a store and you watch how people buy books and reference books specifically, they open the book, they look at the table of contents and they look at the index. What is the index but search?
Search, to me, wasn’t a revolutionary idea. It was evolutionary…. Source: Mercury News
[tags]ask jeeves,dot-com-era,mercury news,internet empire,book publishing business[/tags]