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Ask's nifty new features
Ask.com rolled out a revamp of its search engine with a few key features. “Skins” that can customize the search page, recommendations and new ways to relate results. The big question is whether Ask.com can steal some share from Google. To find out Larry Dignan embarked on a search engine world tour and swore off Google for a few weeks. Ask was the first stop in trying to picture life without Google.
Looking for Ben Bernacke
When searching for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernacke’s latest speech I typed in “bernanke federal reserve statement” into Ask.
I didn’t quite get what I was looking for–ideally the latest text or news story
Saving a nice touch
The capability to save the Web page in a search is a nice touch.
Do we care about content types?
One of the big issues with Ask is that it seems a bit too religious when classifying content types. For instance, I’d rather have an integrated view from the beginning. To find Bernanke’s speech I tabbed to news. Even then I didn’t see the result I was looking for until the fourth result.
Less specific is more
Oddly enough making the search broader got me news results I was looking for. Pane on the left is a nice touch for background.
Directory Assistance Please
Now this is annoying. With Google I had gotten in the habit of using it like a phone book. Here I’m just trying to find my eye doctor. No luck.
Here I’m looking for Macbook images and get a few suggestions.
Moving up to the whole Web and Ask gives you more suggestions. The search recommendations expand the universe and will probably surface a few things you’ll click on–even if you weren’t looking.