Sunday, June 04, 2006

ASK.com Google's Latest Competition

Move over MSN, Google has a more Intelligent competition in Ask.com. With the Search engine market hotting up, and ad revenues breaking through the glass ceiling, google has new competition. Ask.com, started out as askjeeves who had the answer to all, had morphed itself into a search engine after it acquired Teoma. Google's strength was always in technology, and have always been ahead of its competition like msn and yahoo because of its supposedly better technology, the better mousetrap fallacy notwithstanding. But Ask.com might challenge google directly on the technology front, Teoma afterall started out as a Pentagon funded project. And the best thing I see in ASK is by virtue of it being a part of Barry Diller's IAC ( or Interactive Corp). With Web properties such as Hotels.com, Match.com, expedia, Lending tree, shoebuy, bagsbuy, as part of the web portfolia, Ask.com will have extreme synergy with the rest. All the other websites of IAC sells a product or a service, so every referral from ask.com is a potential customer for IAC, and ASK.com already has a 6% share in the search market. They are even entering the blog search market, with blog intelligence from Bloglines which is another group company. And we though google was moving towards world domination.


Some features of Ask search from a CNN article:
Type a typical search into Ask.com - for instance "Global warming." On top of the results page is a link to a Wikipedia entry on the subject - along with a tiny chart showing rising global temperatures. Immediately below are links to two news stories on global warming.
Only then do you see ads - and just three. Below them, Ask lists the EPA's Web site, and next to that entry a little icon of binoculars. If you move your cursor over it, a miniature version of the EPA page pops up. Most of the other links on the results page also offer binocular screens. At the bottom of the page are five more ads.
On the right side of the screen, where a Google (Research) search on the same topic lists eight ads, Ask shows none at all but instead provides tools for more results. First are ten links it calls "Narrow Your Search." They include "Causes of Global Warming" and "Effects of Global Warming." Below that is a set of five more links called "Expand Your Search," including ones for "Greenhouse Effect," and "Ozone Layer."
Unlike Google, Ask gives you content before ads, includes previews, and offers related links, including those like "Ozone Layer" that you might not have thought of. Of the three other major search sites - Google, MSN, and Yahoo (Research) - only Yahoo comes close to delivering value comparable to Ask.com, but even then with a much less well-designed screen.
Jim Lanzone, Ask.com's hyper-enthusiastic CEO, has a simple explanation: "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."[source]

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