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Seeking answers on the Web? Just Ask Jeeves


No matter how long you've been using the Internet, search engines are one of the most valuable tools in the search for information.

There are a multitude of search engines and Web directories (like the popular Yahoo! site), and most operate in a similar manner.

The user types in a word or phrase and the search site responds with a list of "hits" -- sites that it has indexed that match (or closely match) the object of the search.

And unfortunately, search engines can return too much information -- much of which isn't very useful.

One place I recommend for both new and veteran Web surfers is a search engine called Ask Jeeves.

Ask Jeeves doesn't give you a list of thousands and thousands of "hits" that you have to sift through to find something useful. You can find your information quickly and most efficiently.

The site takes its name from the "gentlemen's gentlemen" character Jeeves, from the Jeeves and Wooster stories by British author P.G. Wodehouse.

Ask Jeeves serves up only useful information, with as simple an interface as possible.

First, users type in their question in complete sentence form.

Ask Jeeves then returns a short list of matched questions. The user selects the closest match, and is then taken to the Web site most relevant to their search.

Ask Jeeves has been online since 1996, and is currently testing an upgraded version of its Web search engine.

Visit Ask Jeeves on the Web at www.askjeeves.com.

MICROSOFT VS. DOJ. With its official release just around the corner, Microsoft watchers are wondering how the U.S. Department of Justice's anti-trust case against the company will affect the Windows 98 operating system.

After all, Microsoft recently began offering manufacturers a version of the Windows 95 without the Internet Explorer icon; will it follow suit with Windows 98?

But will the government move to hold up Windows 98's release? According to a source close to the Justice Department, the answer is likely "no."

A story in last week's Wall Street Journal quoted an unnamed source who said the government "probably won't block" Microsoft from including Internet Explorer 4.0 in the final version of Windows 98.

But like it did with Windows 95, it's likely that they may tell Microsoft to offer a version without the browser (though Microsoft points out that there's no real market for it).

But the Justice Department is still investigating Microsoft, and according to published reports, is looking at a broader antitrust case against the company -- one that may force the company to change its business practices, or at worst, force Microsoft to split into separate businesses.

At any rate, the legal case is likely to drag onward as we near the tentative date for the release of Windows 98 -- June 25.

Comments and questions about this column may be sent to jbrooks@myoldkentuckyhome.com, or visit www.myoldkentuckyhome.com on the World Wide Web.

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