The underdog in search is introducing a new version of its search engine on Tuesday—at Ask.com. The LA Times called it the “scrappy innovator in search” and the company takes pride in that. The latest version is being called Ask 3D, named for the three dimensions of search: Expression, Results, and Content. These correspond to the 3-panel interface display screen, which is what Ask has been testing in its experimental site, Ask X.
Gary Price took some time from his busy schedule—including presentations at SLA—to give me a demo in advance of the launch (did I feel special!). He said the new version uses a new “Morph” content-matching and ranking algorithm that shows a different results page based on the query by customizing sources, selecting content, ranking results and exposing tools differently for each search a user conducts. The bottom line though is searchers spend less time and effort clicking to an answer—it’s all about saving time of the searcher, he said.
There are lots of new features, including a new home page with icons featuring the vertical search options, larger image rollovers, Binoculars 2.0, new “skins” to personalize the page, video search powered by Blinkx, in-line functions to preview video and audio, type-ahead search suggestions, and lots more. I’ll be taking a closer look at it when I get more time. For now, go try it yourself.
Paula J. Hane
News Bureau Chief, ITI