Gives Up on Search, Refocuses on Q&A Service

What happened to's search engine? It was put out to pasture Tuesday by the company that says it's giving up on trying to compete with Google. says its getting out of the search engine business but stresses its site isn't going anywhere. It will live on -- and so will Ask Jeeves "the butler," the company says. Moving forward will focus on providing a topnotch question-and-answer service helping people find what they are looking. says it will still offer a search option, but will outsource the search technology to a yet to be named third-partly.

The sites departure from using a search algorithm was announced by Doug Leeds, president of, which is a unit of IAC/InterActiveCorp. It's estimated that the site currently has a two percent share of the U.S. online search market. By contrast, the market leader Google has a 65 percent share.

The closing of the search service will cost 130 engineers in Edison, New Jersey and Hangzhou, China their jobs, although 20 of the Garden State workers are being asked to relocate to Oakland, Calif., where the search unit's headquarters is located, . All work on its algorithmic search technology will cease, he added.

While search operations will be put to rest, the unit will continue to operate, focusing its efforts on its question-and-answer service.