Apart from Google, how many other search engines can you name in an instant? Yahoo? MSN? Any more?
There aren't that many search sites that remain household names, but one of the few remaining Google competitors with a recognisable, memorable name is Ask Jeeves (askjeeves.com).
And at the end of this month, the popular Jeeves character will be consigned to history, the site reverting to a shorter, simpler ask.com.
Ask Jeeves was founded by Dave Warthen and Garrett Gruener in mid 1996, long before the internet business boom and a long time before the internet was normal in most homes. It started out in a way that has recently been used by today's new web companies; as a beta that was only open to invited friends of the founding staff.
But after a year of testing it was made public, and operated for a while from two computers sitting under a desk. Then, ironically, it was given a "Pick of the Week" award by later rival Yahoo.com, and suddenly things began to move faster.
Ask Jeeves was different from its competitors because it was designed from the beginning to offer answers to questions written in English. Remember this was pre Google; searching the net was still haphazard and finding what you actually wanted was never guaranteed.
Unless you wanted to spend a long time trawling through pages of search results, you often needed to know specialised search techniques to get what you wanted. With careful application of Boolean logic and a handful of clever hacks, experts could get there faster.
Google's smart searching technology changed all that, but Ask Jeeves attempted the change first.
At Ask Jeeves, you were encouraged to just type in the question you wanted answered, in the same English you'd use to ask another person. Jeeves, squarely based on the PG Wodehouse character, would offer a list of likely answers, each of them a link to a page on the web.
It wasn't quite "I'm feeling lucky," but it was a refreshing change at the time, and users flocked to it.
As with many internet companies from the early days, Ask Jeeves went through enormous change, growing into a giant of a business in 1999 before suddenly shedding hundreds of jobs and frantically cutting costs as the tech bubble burst. It survived, shrunken but still viable, and now after nine years is ditching Jeeves for good.
Things have changed. Asking Jeeves a question now gives you a page of results, Google-style, rather than a list of answers. The underlying technology has changed completely, and for the better. The company wants to move on, compete with the big boys, and feels obliged to adopt a more serious image.
So say goodbye to Jeeves. He's apparently planning to have fun during his retirement, though (www.jeevesretirement.com/desk/).
* Mac users, famously smug and contemptuous of the Windows-using majority, found themselves the targets of a malicious internet worm called Leap.A.
Unused to serious threats, the Mac community was astonished to discover this code actually had the ability to spread via the iChat instant messaging program - but only under very limited circumstances, and even then it did little harm.
Consensus is that this was a trial run, but the simple fact that it happened has raised awareness of computer security among Mac users.
* Giles Turnbull has a web site at gilest.org