Answers still coming from Ask

Jeeves left the building long ago. Now he's being followed by 130 engineers from, the floundering search engine that has just 4 percent of the U.S. Web search market.

The once popular, which morphed into, announced this week that it's taking a new approach to the business of answering queries. No longer is trying to build a better search engine; it has surrendered to Google. Therefore Ask is closing offices in New Jersey and China, shrinking its work force of 400 and focusing its energy in its San Francisco-area offices.

An Associated Press story about’s move said the search business is now down to two main players — Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Earlier this year Yahoo hired Microsoft to provide search technology for the next 10 years. Ask has not divulged its search partner, citing a confidentiality agreement.

I'm guessing the 4 percent of users who rely on Ask will continue to pose their questions and be satisfied with the results. This is a pure cost-cutting measure by's parent company, InterActive Corp. Chief Executive Officer Doug Leeds said, "When we looked at what we were getting for all the money we were spending, we realized we could get the same thing from a third party for a lot less."

I headed to a while ago and posed some questions. I got search results pages that still look pretty much like those I get from Google or Bing, but the returns are not always exactly the same. I’ll sometimes head to if I'm frustrated with the results Google and Bing are serving. I'm hoping I'll still get that oddball result that's precisely what I'm looking for.

I like to think the ghost of Jeeves is still at work.

Read the story from The Associated Press: laying off 130 workers in search retreat