“NEW YORK I grieve for Jeeves. The butler mascot of the Ask Jeeves search service got the boot yesterday but will always remind me of the pre-Google era when searching online still intimidated most people. Back then, the cartoonish Jeeves helped humanize the impersonal search box by encouraging…”
It wasn’t the mascot, actually. It was the option to do natural language searching, which in the days when Altavista was search king, was a big deal. That was a time when search engines had very different views of the Internet, often having completely different result sets, Altavista at the time being, in my opinion, the best. It was a long time until I switched to using Google primarily.