ASK.com is testing a new look dubbed ASK X, which I might add looks pretty cool. I love the reflection of the ASK logo. ASK has always been a personal favorite of mine. Prior to being ASK.com, I liked Ask Jeeves as I found that they had the most relevant results when I would perform a search query.
I attended SES San Jose in 2005 and one of the items that kept coming up from ASK's people was talk of revolutionalizing the Search Engine Results Page. Wow, could you imagine an entirely new look for a SERP? What would that mean for advertisers? Less sponsored ads? More sponsored ads? More video clips? Well for now the new ASK X SERP gives you three panes:
1. Search Interface - where you can narrow or expand your search
2. Search Results - as you would see in a normal search engine
3. ASK Vertical Results - database results from ASK such as images, dictionary, business listings and news.
I really like the new interface. It's sleek and most importantly relevant and useful. I performed a query for "lawyers" and was presented with an option to expand or narrow my search, actual search results for "lawyers", and related images, a definition of lawyers as well as current news.
I think that ASK is on the right track in terms of helping search users find what they are looking for. I often question how long it will be until the SERPs are presented in an entirely different manner. Google's simplistic SERP display is effective yet boring. ASK is taking the SERP to an entirely different level by offering more options to help define one's search. Could they be using semantic mapping to present an idea of what users may be searching for? Well maybe not, but it is definitely a positive step in providing users with the results that they are looking for. Kudos to the ASK team for this.
For a more detailed review of ASK X check out this post on Resource Shelf.