Carlton-Granada to launch ’Ask Jeeves’ search engine in UK

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 site.

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

site.



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

English.



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

the UK.



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.



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