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Is ASK Finished?
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Is ASK as we know it finished? Over the weekend, I have been reading a number of reports that ASK is shopping their TEOMA search engine algorithm in favor of using Google results. This is interesting to me because ASK as a search engine has come a long way in the past year. They provide they best SERP (Search Engine Results Page) in the business. Nobody comes close to their SERP... not even and especially not Google. The fact that InterActive Corp (IACI) is considering dumping the TEOMA technology is a little disheartening.

The one area that ASK needs to improve upon is relevancy of results... but the same can be said for all search engines. While Google results are considered the "best", they are far from perfect themselves. When ASK relaunched last June, their "3-D" interface was refreshing. The new experience on ASK was much improved. I just cannot see them giving up on Search because after Google, ASK (in my opinion) is the most innovative when it comes to Search. With some small improvements to the relevancy of the results, I'm sure that if people tried the ASK search engine that they would love it. I cannot see ASK dumping TEOMA.... modifying it yes, but not selling it or abandoning it entirely. Having said that I'm curious as to why Microsoft didn't attempt to acquire ASK instead of Yahoo. ASK has a lot of potential, and while they only have roughly 5% market share, they stand poised to steal a piece from Google, Yahoo or Microsoft with their cool SERP and improved user experience.

People are creatures of habit however and may not give ASK the chance they rightly deserve. I just do not understand IAC's move if they decide to dump their own search product. According to Silcon Alley Insider:
An insider tells us that IAC is considering finally pulling the plug on Teoma, the engine that powers Ask's search, and just using Google:

There is indeed a big shakeup coming. A new Ask. Some think a reduction in workforce is likely. There are no sacred cows, Teoma may be sold or simply abandoned which is hundreds of engineers who work on the core search engine, in place of just using Google's search with our special brand of user interface.

This is bad news for Ask's engineers, but good news for IAC. Barry Diller's public line, so far, is that Ask has amazing technology but has done a lousy job of marketing it. But Ask has spent way too much time and money trying to gain ground against Google, with almost nothing to show for it. IAC's shareholders may wish that Barry had thrown in the towel earlier, but better late than never.

Others report that:

“There are no sacred cows, Teoma may be sold or simply abandoned which is hundreds of engineers who work on the core search engine, in place of just using Google's search with our special brand of user interface.”

If these reports are correct, IAC may be pulling the plug on TEOMA... ASK will become a skeleton of it's former self. The retirement of Jeeves was one thing, now ASK "Jeeves" appears close to death. C'mon ASK fight the good fight...

Related Stories

Ask May Dump Teoma For Google, Layoff 100 People
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ASK: 1996 -2008 ???


posted by PlanetNim Caretaker @ Sunday, March 02, 2008  
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