RealTime IT News

Jeeves Notches Fourth Gov. Client

Notching its fourth government contract, Ask Jeeves has been tapped to provide natural language search and navigation for the District of Columbia's municipal Web site. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The company's JeevesOne product will help residents, business owners, government employees and tourists find information about the nation's capital through www.dc.gov.

Emeryville, Calif.-based Ask Jeeves, already counts the U.S. Navy, the state of Washington and the Municipal Association of South Carolina clients and sees potential in the public sector as cash-strapped governments look for ways to save money.

D.C.'s government will also use Jeeves Analytics software to study every question asked. The information will then be used to tweak the site's content and layout. By answering more questions online, the D.C. Government expects to field fewer calls and e-mail queries, freeing up employee.

Ask Jeeves said that's been the experience for Washington, a customer since 2001. The state handles more than 7,000 queries online daily. If each online query saves a three-minute phone call (or e-mail) to a state employee, it would total about 57,000 hours of staff time saved annually.

"The Web is a powerful tool for helping governments connect with and serve their citizens," said Scott Lomond, general manager of Jeeves Solutions. "For example, the State of Washington so values "Ask George" that they've given it top billing -- front and center real estate on Access Washington (the state's portal)."

Ask Jeeves' enterprise group competes against iPhrase and others. In the private sector its customers include British Telecom, Ford, Nestle, Nike and Visa.