Whereas search engines rate sites by the popularity of other sites linking to and from them, the technology from Ask Jeeves rates the source of each link. Using this method it hopes to find communities of information rather than just the most popular sites.
"The search engine market is now down to four sites: Google, Ask Jeeves, Yahoo and Microsoft," Tony Macklin, vice president for European products at Ask Jeeves, told vnunet.com.
"Since 1998 there hasn't been a search engine launched that has had more than a million users a month, so it's down to the big four to compete on the strength of their technology."
Ask Jeeves is also adding other services to compete in the market. Users can create search profiles and email the results to friends, and a page preview service claims to cut the number of clicks per search by 50 per cent.
Other improvements due this year include a mapping service, the option of expanding or narrowing searches and a database of 2,500 celebrities.
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