Ask.com retires Internet butler

Abbey Stirgwolt

The age of the butler has drawn to a close.

In order to provide Internet users with a more professional and simplified search engine, Ask.com officially retired Jeeves, its 10-year-old cartoon butler mascot, this week.

“I learned how to tie a bow tie on AskJeeves.com,” sophomore marketing major Nick Weiss said. “If you wanna find information, you can go to Google, but when you want to learn how to do something, go to AskJeeves.”

Jeeves’ retirement is the latest in a series of steps Ask.com has taken to update and improve its search engine technologies.

“Jeeves decided to step down as the face of AskJeeves.com, and retire in style,” the Web site reported. “Jeeves symbolized a traditional, at-your-service butler which made people feel comfortable and at home with asking any type of question.”

The Web site now features a simple home page displaying the Ask logo, a single search bar and a search tools menu.

“(After a while) users came to Ask Jeeves for more sophisticated searches. Searches that were informational, navigational and ultimately transactional,” the site reported. “Ask.com users wanted a search engine to help them search, get and do whatever they needed – at a moment’s notice.”

The new Ask.com features a “maps and driving directions” section, encyclopedia and image search functions, “MyStuff,” a personalized search service, as well as “the fewest ads of any major search destination,” as detailed in a Feb. 27 press release.

“The new Ask.com is the culmination of years of innovation, combining the most advanced core search technology with one-of-a-kind tools that make search better,” said Ask.com CEO Steve Berkowitz in the press release. “People deserve a search engine that gives them the tools to get what they need faster, not just a bunch of links on a page. Ask.com takes search to the next level.”

Despite Ask.com’s claims of improved facility and technology, Jeeves’ original approach to Web searching will be missed.

Weiss was disappointed to learn of Jeeves’ retirement and predicted a grim future for Jeeves’ parent company.

“They’re gonna lose business,” he said.

Contact technology reporter Abbey Stirgwolt at [email protected]