Ask Jeeves (NASDAQ:ASKJ) has gotten a face-lift this week, and in more ways than one. Not only did the search engine add some functionality, but also someone over there decided to give the P.G. Wodehouse-inspired "Jeeves" character a younger, healthier-looking demeanor to match its more modern approach.

In the business sense, the engine will include more personalized approaches to search, to do battle with heavyweight rivals such as Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO). It's not a new idea, considering Ask Jeeves has been adding functions such as "binoculars," which allow users to pass their cursors over a search result to get a sneak peek at a site before clicking over. A recent acquisition will give Ask Jeeves users the ability to search their desktops, a feature that is expected to launch next month.

As of today, new features include MyJeeves, which allows users to save and organize their Web searches as the company moves toward personalization of the Web experience, and local search, one of the core applications that Internet users want in a search engine.

Ask Jeeves certainly hasn't been shirking its work in terms of creating ways to keep up with the Joneses (and the Googles and the Yahoo!s). However, it still has only a mere 6% of the search engine market, according to Comscore. To further complicate matters,'s (NASDAQ:AMZN) search engine made its official debut.

A9 includes lots of new techniques in personalization, including a running tally of recent searches, as well as targeted search of media such as books, which segues right into its main e-commerce site. Just after launch, Amazon instituted a discount to shoppers searching through, illustrating how it can theoretically cull search users from an already hefty customer base. So it's not too hard to imagine that could take a bite out of the share of the other players in search.

And of course, there's always the long-awaited Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) search application looming on the horizon. And we know that players such as Yahoo! and Google are certainly not resting on their laurels now and will continue to find new ways to innovate.

Trading at 31 times forward earnings, Ask Jeeves may sound like a bargain to some, given the higher P/E ratios attributed to its rivals. Meanwhile, back in July, Jeeves shocked investors by providing earnings guidance that was lower than analysts' forecasts.While many have mentioned that any question of Jeeves' survival is no longer an issue, given the competition at hand -- and the mighty caliber of the rivals -- there is still risk attached to Ask Jeeves as the search industry continues to evolve.

Does Ask Jeeves stand a chance? Talk about the search industry on the Google discussion board.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.