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Stuck? Ask Dudley!

Dell opens website technical database

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Dell Asks Dudley For Help

by Dave Murphy
ISSN 1535-3613

Dave Murphy, ITrain founder This week, Dell Computers unveiled its "Ask Dudley!" service, based on the natural language software pioneered by the Ask Jeeves search engine. Ask Dudley offers website visitors access to over 50,000 pages of customer-support material using simple English questions such as "Where are the Hewlett-Packard drivers?" But interestingly, questions such as "Who is Michael Dell?" and "Why is Dell better than Gateway?" yielded no answers at all.

When interviewed, Rob Wrubel, CEO of Ask Jeeves, said Dell spends hundreds of millions of dollars on customer support every year, so the PC maker is a prime candidate for cost reduction.

Dell's natural language search engine is an example of the future for all technical trades. Not only PC support departments, but also lawyers, health care providers, and technicians in other professions will create websites that are as simple to use as Dell's and Ask Jeeves.

Not only will the web be the initial point of contact for customer interaction, but also the primary point as technical diagrams, prepared video clips, and 24-hour availability are demanded by clients.

Dell website:
Ask Jeeves website:
ITrain website:

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updated December 14, 1998