If you hear about Ask Jeeves and your response is "are they still around then?", you're not alone. For years the search engine was best known for the fact that it was still in business, as Forrester analyst Charlene Li points out.
The search engine was founded roughly ten years ago and has the ability to process natural language: users can ask it a question instead of having to enter keywords as search queries. It was and is a nice service, but never succeeded in getting out Google's and Yahoo's shadow. The company's market share stands at a insignificant 3 percent, making it the number five player in the online search market.
This morning Ask Jeeves claimed its place in the spotlight when it revealed that IAC/InterActiveCorp will acquire the service in a stock swap valued at $1.8 bn. IAC is the company behind websites including Ticketmaster, Evite and several travel sites like Hotwire, Hotels.com and Expedia (it is in the process of spinning the latter off).
The sale will no doubt beef up the number of visitors to the Ask Jeeves website, which is profitable and makes most of its revenues through Google ads.
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