Carlton Communications and the Granada Media Group are to enter
into a dollars 125 million joint venture deal with the US search engine,
Ask Jeeves, that will result in the creation of a UK version of the
The two are investing pounds 20 million each in cash and advertising in
a deal that will bring the plain English search engine, which uses the
Jeeves butler character created by the English novelist, PG Wodehouse,
to the UK and Ireland.
The UK version is due to launch early next year at askjeeves.co.uk. Ask
Jeeves allows users to search the web by asking questions in plain
For example, users searching for information on the Mars Lander could
type: ’What is the Mars Lander?’ Ask Jeeves responds with further
questions to narrow the search.
Launched in the US in 1997, Ask Jeeves is one of the most popular search
engines on the web. According to Media Metrix, it recorded 4.7 million
unique visitors in October. The US site already attracts as many as
650,000 UK visitors every month. Carlton and Granada are hoping that
those existing users will make the new site one of the most popular in
Steve Morrison, chief executive of Granada Media, said: ’Ask Jeeves has
become hugely successful because it makes the internet easier to use for
non-technical people. Ease of use is vital if the internet is to become
an everyday tool for the widest possible audience.’
Carlton and Granada will now build on the UK site and apply the
technology to ONdigital and other web projects.