Thanks to a Tweet from Jay Mettle of Compete.com earlier today, I found out about news that Jay had hinted about for a couple of weeks; Ask and Compete have partnered in improving Ask Search by including Compete.com web traffic information.
You can find the information in a post on the Ask.com blog titled “Better Binoculars” – the information is presented in the form of Binoculars and have been present on the Ask Search Engine for a quite a few years now.
Interestingly, the Binoculars don’t appear on every kind of query – for example – a query on “web analytics” brings up a much better result than Google’s, but nothing that’s really locational in nature. On the other hand, I don’t understand why traffic stats can’t be available for any url in a search result.
Now, the query for “web analytics” brought up a couple of interesting surprises, one being the picture of Gary Angel in the upper right – Ha – Ask.com actually got it right, Gary’s picture belongs there more than anyone else I can think of.
Curiously, I could not get the Compete data to show up for the same query twice in a row, don’t know why. Here’s an example from the Ask.com blog:
“…Since it’s winter and I love skiing, I searched for my favorite ski resort. When you roll over the Binocular icon of the top result, you will at first see the familiar preview:
At the lower portion of the preview, you can see the combined size of all elements on the page and how long it will take to download it on a still-common 56K modem connection. It will also show you whether the site requires the Flash plugin or whether it serves pop-ups:
So far nothing new, but look at the top and you’ll now notice tabs. Let’s click on Statistics:
Seems to me that Ask.com got a lot better, and yet, it hardly seems to make any difference in terms of overall trends for usage of their search engine – I don’t know if many people have given Ask.com a serious try lately – but I think they should.