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    Home (Page), Jeeves

    October 23, 1998

    Ask a dumb question – only the programmers at the Ask Jeeves page http://www.askjeeves.com will know. The site is an intriguing, occasionally effective experiment in artificial intelligence: Type a question in plain English, and Ask Jeeves will try to refer you to other sites that answer it. Sometimes it works; asking "What's the deal with Tibet?" sent me to a concise summary at the Lonely Planet travel-info site. But my query "How much does a gallon of gas cost?" got me no closer than Encyclopedia.com's brief entry on gasoline. Ask Jeeves's mistakes can, however, make for interesting detours – if you have free time. If not, Ask Jeeves can be just as unproductively infuriating as all the other search engines. Speaking of which: The AltaVista site http://www.altavista.com just began incorporating Ask Jeeves's answers into its own search results.

    Rob Pegoraro rob@twp.com

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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