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ASK.com The Second Coming of Search Means Personalization
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
With yesterday's relaunch of the new ASK.com, users of search should take note. For those who do not often frequent ASK you may want to start. You really should check it out. In order to get started, perform a query on ASK.com. I tried a search for "las vegas" and was presented with the following:

I like the search suggestions feature and the fact that I can disable it if I so choose. It presents a number of relevant options that are particular to my query such as "las vegas shows", "las vegas weather", "las vegas airport" and "las vegas map". (In case you are wondering, I applied one of the skins that were provided to get the western sunset.)

The title of the ASK home page says it all, "Ask.com Search Engine - Better Web Search". Well it is definitely a better web search engine results page. When clicking through I was taken to a SERP page that one of my co-workers dubbed "a sexy, new" search page.

ASK has taken the interface from their ASK X release incorporating the use of the three panes. The left pane contains the search box and options for web search, image search, city search, news or more. In addition there are options to help you narrow your search for things such as Las Vegas coupons, Guide to Las Vegas etc using this example. You are also presented with an option to expand your search with queries such as "Grand Canyon" and "Hoovers Dam". Also to try an intercept all users, ASK even offers a Related Names section featuring Josh Duhamel who stars in the Las Vegas television program on NBC.

The Center pane features the main results and includes a map of Las Vegas, jobs, weather, seasonal climate, local time, official Las Vegas site info, a link to the Chamber of Commerce and more all located conveniently at the top of the page. This particular query served up three sponsored ads followed by a number or organic listings with additional sponsored listings after that followed by an option to download the ASK toolbar and additional pages of results.

The right pane presents a series of topic related categories that include:
  • Images
  • News Images
  • Current Weather
  • Television Related Info
  • Encyclopedia Info
  • Related Blogs
The SERP is very interactive providing a wide array of options for the user to follow through with. This is how a search results page should be displayed. The goal of this new interface was to to provide people with a faster, easier, and richer search experience. I think that mission has been accomplished. ASK has dubbed the new release as "ASK 3-D" where the 3D stands for the three dimensions of searching - query expression, investigating results, and digging deeply into content. With the new interface, you now get everything you need on one page, and in many cases above the fold. ASK is focusing on not just getting all of the information out there, but getting the right information out there. The official ASK blog states:

"...Accordingly, Ask3D literally morphs with each query you enter. No two searches are the same, so why should all search pages have the same stuff in the same order? We customize each page for each different query, based on relevance, but also based on what previous searchers on Ask found valuable for that query (or one like it)."

When ASK began testing their new ASK X interface last December, we thought that it was a prelude to the personalization of search. We were right, this is some pretty cool stuff and as we predicted ASK is really leading the way with personalized search. ASK has in fact created a richer user experience and has begun shaping how users with interact with the search engines in the future. As of June 5, 2007, ASK rules the Search Engine Results Pages. Interactive Corp (IACI) has done a great job with ASK. I really expect ASK to steal some search engine market share from Microsoft, Yahoo and even from Google if they continue to be as innovative as they have over recent months.

ASK Blog Introduces the New ASK

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, June 05, 2007  
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