Ask.com and their new UI

Jumping on the PR bandwagon for Ask.com, i thought I would mention that their site now has provided me with a reason to visit.  While I am still totally confused with their marketing efforts (i still dont get the billboards in NYC and their algorithm references)….their new UI on the home page of Ask, their blog search capabilities (with bloglines) and the results for vanity searches are spectacular.  

Ask’s product team deserves a huge kudos.  Referring to a quote from toastedbread.com…”It’s almost like an eBay for information,” said Daniel Read, Vice President, Product Management, Ask.com.  While quoting the guy who oversaw this change seems a little silly….i do think Ask has improved the user experience, cleaned up the search field, provided easy to use icons, etc.

While they are hovering around 5% of total searches and presumably losing points every day against the big and powerful Google….Ask may have a few tricks left up their sleeve.  Since 30% of searches are for people, Ask may make up some lost ground if they can figure out a way to integrate into some social networking sites in a more meaningful way…or surface personal information more aggressively.

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