Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

The New Ask Search Engine Shows Off Slick Interface And Good Results Too

If you are not completely satisfied with Google's ability to provide a direct and prompt answer to all your needs, you may like the array of integrated search facilities and information mining tools that the new search engine has recently launched.


The newly revamped search engine, has gone ahead of its competitors by integrating a very simple but highly efficient interface that changes and adapts to the different types of search you need to perform.

All' n' all has brought together under its new search interface over 18 different information seeking areas: from standard web searches, to Movies, maps and locations, white pages, dictionary, stocks, and a lot more.

Here, online content analyst John Blossom, takes a brief overview flight on new release while providing his own first impressions about a new, apparently very serious, Google search competitor.




The new is pretty killer.

The target for the search engine formerly known as Ask-Jeeves is clearly Google, and now so much more from a feature and content perspective.

Type in a company name into the Web search box and not only do you get darn good search results but in some instances premium corporate profile's from ECNext's Goliath premium content service in sponsored search results up top. For others like General Motors the results include some pretty interesting options: "narrow your search" categories (History of General Motors, General Motor Engines, General Motors Timeline, General Motors Corporation Job Vacancies, etc.), broaden your search (competitors) and related names. It may lack some of the sparkle of Factiva's 2.0 beta, but it's highly usable content contextualization for business-oriented searchers.

The search results themselves for Web content are very acceptable in a first pass, both in terms of search quality and embedded features.

A nice little plus is a binocular icon on many results that allows you to pop up an image of a page when you cursor over it before you waste a click to look at the actual page.

Natural language searches also return pretty good results.


Meanwhile, back at the main search page there's of course the single-box Web search form but also a nicely designed menu of alternative searches through images, news, maps, weblogs, encyclopedias, desktop, mobile content, movies and so on. Click on any of these options and the search form changes automatically to the needs of that search, with examples of searches and search results expected popping up at the same time beneath the search zone.

It's like having a whole reference set at your fingertips without having to click over to other pages to get something done.

News search results seem to favor certain sources such as AFX rather heavily but otherwise provide good and sometimes excellent selections. While Google News still works well on many topics, this is a news search that's at least a match in many ways and clearly superior to either Yahoo's or MSN News.

Easy-to-subscribe RSS links for specifically pre-designated news streams makes it easy to get key topics onto a desktop.


I was prepared to be quite underwhelmed by this offering based on earlier efforts by the Ask team but Barry Diller has clearly invested a ton in making a highly focused reference product that can service a broad array of audiences with tools that place content sources in very valuable contexts.

Google features have been slavishly copied in some instances (don't argue with success) but other key Ask strengths are retained and greatly enhanced by one of the most intelligently designed search interfaces on the open Web.

Best of all the search results don't seem to disappoint in any major ways that I've encountered so far. had fallen off of my radar based on earlier gut checks on quality: now it's in my bookmarks. Let the competition to do one better than this effort begin.

John Blossom -
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posted by Robin Good on Wednesday, March 1 2006, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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