In recent years the search engine formerly known as Ask Jeeves has struggled to compete with the likes of Google, Yahoo and MSN.
Why? Because Ask Jeeves made searching frustrating. Initially their Ask Jeeves a question and he will give you an answer system proved popular with those who weren’t very internet-savvy, but users soon realised that the results returned were not that relevant.
At this stage Google was already way ahead in terms of relevancy and they continue to be so. Users could easily find what they were looking for and Google quickly established themselves as the leader in delivering relevant search results.
Ask 3D launch
With Web 2.0 and user generated content in mind, Ask.com re-launched their new style Ask 3D search engine in June 2007. Visually its simplicity is similar to Google but it has some powerful new features.
The new-look homepage offers customizable backgrounds that let people choose from a variety of skins to personalize their search experience. Later this year individuals will be able to upload their own personal images to customize their backgrounds even further.
Ask.com also now features bold icons on the home page to make it easier for people to search for specific content such as images, news and blogs. Additionally, Ask now offers search suggestions to help people find what they need more easily.
Search results pages
Ask.com has really pushed the boat out with their new look search results pages. You can now see video previews, listen to music clips, or even search through specific content such as images and news, all from the main results page.
If you hover your mouse over video thumbnails, you can now preview video clips without having to navigate away from the page. You can listen to a music clip by simply clicking on the name of a song within the Ask results page. Also, Ask offers an image rollover feature, which enlarges an image so that you can see it in more detail.
Don’t get me wrong, Ask.com is far from perfect but the point is that they have done their research and delivered what users are looking for. Gone are the days when users were happy with a page of text. Today users want audio, video and up-to-date results and the concept that Ask.com have come up with is a good move forward.
Although Ask still have a long way to go before their search engine is perfected, I predict that they will soon be knocking on the door of the bigger search engines.