Ask Seen As Google Threat

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Microsoft may not get around to unseating Google from the search engine perch, as Ask.com may complete its turnaround and start seeing its market share rise thanks to a host of features available from IAC’s Search and Media division.

Ask Seen As Google Threat
Is Ask The True Google Challenger?

Some writers merit our attention when they expound on particular technology topics. Walt Mossberg, Om Malik, and Danny Sullivan come to mind right away. And so does Fortune’s senior editor David Kirkpatrick, whose recent article on search engines suggests that people looking for a Google alternative should Ask for one instead.

Ask has a lot of tools and features for its users, as does its dominant search engine competitor, Google. Where Google can take various queries and perform its algorithmic gymnastics, one has to know going in to Google that it can do those things.

On Ask’s site, the assorted features appear in a user-friendly list of Search Tools. Its newest service, a blog and feed search tool, recently launched.

In the basic web search, Ask will deliver its sponsored results at the top of the page, followed by organic listings. As Kirkpatrick noted, Ask delivers options to Narrow or Expand search results on the right side of the page.

On Google, the right side contains the familiar contextual advertisements that has driven the company’s revenue into the billions. Both engines would argue their right sides are the right ways to engage searchers with more relevant content.

Kirkpatrick cited new Ask CEO Jim Lanzone on the search engine’s approach to building its service:

“What really differentiates us is our focus on search. Other companies are partnering with content companies and launching wi-fi networks. But we’re not building a rocket ship. We’re building a better car. It’s not what people will want in five years. It’s what they want now.”

What people want now, apparently, is more value in their search results. Kirkpatrick thinks that only Yahoo approaches Ask in delivering value to searchers when comparing Ask, Yahoo, Google, and MSN.

He submitted a query for global warming on Ask, and liked finding Wikipedia’s entry for global warming at the top of the search results page, followed by links to current news on global warming.

For the future, Kirkpatrick envisions Ask’s current search market share of 6 percent rising quickly. Along with that growth, Ask’s parent company IAC/InterActiveCorp should also see an uptick in its fortunes.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Ask Seen As Google Threat
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