Ask Jeeves To Launch Desktop Search Wednesday

    December 14, 2004

Ask Jeeves will launch their new Ask Jeeves Desktop Search (AJDS) application on Wednesday. We caught-up with Senior Vice President, Jim Lanzone for an exclusive interview. is about to release their version of a desktop search utility. This is one of the first looks at the upcoming tool. Discuss at WebProWorld.

Lightweight and powerful

The lightweight AJDS is just 750k and is able to index a whole host of documents including; Microsoft Office files (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), simple text files, Microsoft Outlook email messages, and image, music, and video files. Ask Jeeves decided to go with the “standalone” interface, inherited from their acquisition of Tukaroo, but ensured that users are able to get to offline and online information. Lanzone also indicated that the tool could be integrated with MyJeeves in the future.

Privacy protection

AJDS users can narrow their searches by selecting categories like Office Documents, Music, Pictures, MyJeeves, News and others, or they can sort results by a variety of parameters. Meanwhile, controls are also provided for users to define how much of their computer hard-drive they want Ask Jeeves Desktop Search to index, as well as the speed (and thus the amount of bandwidth devoted) with which they want it indexed. According to Lanzone, this flexibility “gives the user complete control” and even allows them to decide if they want cached web pages to be indexed or not – with the default being not to index the cache – something that will please many critics of Google desktop.

Intuitive interface

AJDS goes beyond the “blue links” of search, by returning results in a two-panel interface where previews are displayed for easy review, (you can even preview your MP3 files). Users will also find a search box conveniently added to common Windows dialog boxes, such as Insert Attachment or File/Open, where the process of finding files is frequently required. This according to Lanzone is the “number one most useful thing” about AJDS and something Ask is particularly proud of.

Not your normal “Beta”

Ask Jeeves expects to add new functionality prior to the formal launch of the product in 2005. Some of these features include expanded support for Outlook, integration of desktop and Web search results, and PDF support. A Feedback menu is provided directly on the application interface to make it easy for users to submit comments and requests for new features. According to Lanzone, Ask Jeeves has no intentions of following Google’s lead and letting a product languish in the world of “Beta”. “We don’t do 3-year Beta’s,” said Lanzone, with tongue firmly in cheek!

Enhancing user relationships

So why the launch of a desktop search tool by Ask Jeeves? Lanzone states that AJDS will “not be directly monetized” and that the desktop search application is “not a business itself, but a feature of a world class search engine.” Indeed, Jeeves is not looking at ways to make money from their desktop offering, but sees this as a way to chip away at the market share of Google and Yahoo. He believes that desktop search causes many search engine users to increase their relationship with their favorite search engine and a “one to two percent marketing swing for Ask Jeeves is an exponential increase.”

Leading the pack

Some might say that they are simply following the heard, but with their acquisition of Tukaroo earlier this year, Jeeves is probably the catalyst for recent desktop launches by Google, MSN and forthcoming launch by Yahoo. The company continues to innovate and looks to add value to loyal Ask Jeeves users, while at the same time attracting new blood.

Tech Notes: Ask Jeeves Desktop Search works with Windows 2000 or XP, Office 2000 or higher, and Outlook 2003. The program requires a minimum of a Pentium III computer running at 400MHz with 128 MB RAM (1 GHz and 256 MB RAM recommended). Sorry, not Mozilla or Mac compatibility.

Andy Beal is an internet marketing consultant and considered one of the world’s most respected and interactive search engine marketing experts. Andy has worked with many Fortune 1000 companies such as Motorola, CitiFinancial, Lowes, Alaska Air, DeWALT, NBC and Experian.

You can read his internet marketing blog at Marketing Pilgrim and reach him at