Information Today
               Volume 17, Number 1 • January 2000 Launches Human-Assisted Search Engine has announced that it has launched what it claims is the first Internet search engine that features real people helping Web surfers find just what they need in real time. According to the announcement, is free, and provides value by making searches more time-efficient and by producing more relevant results. At, people chat online with specially trained agents who can help them search, shop, and surf the Internet.

“There’s a bewildering array of information on the Web today, and we wanted to find a way to help people find the information they need in a quick, personalized, and accurate fashion,” said Kerry Adler, president and CEO of “ is the first, and the only service, that, unlike traditional search engines, takes advantage of common sense and human intuition.”

Adler noted that, according to a study by the NEC Research Institute, as of October 1999, there were some 800 million Web pages on the Internet, up from 320 million in 1997. No search engine currently in use covers more than 16 percent of the total Web. By contrast, she says that will tap into 60 percent of the Web, allowing people access to more information more quickly. Adler said that most searches will average 6 minutes, which is approximately half the time of average searches conducted on traditional engines.

“By employing human interaction,” Adler said, “we can customize searches and pinpoint sites with the highest degree of relevancy to search criteria.”

While searches will remain free, Adler said that the company has also simultaneously introduced its Webhelp Express Service. This service is targeted to both business-to-business and business-to-consumer markets. For a charge of 99 cents per search or $9.99 per month for unlimited Express searches, users will gain immediate, priority assistance from anywhere on the Web.

Source:, Toronto, 888/932-6611, 416/260-4710; Fax: 416/204-1939;

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