Posted by: Marshall Sponder | February 22, 2008

Ask.com + Compete.com = better Ask Search

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.

In fact, here’s what the improvements look like – and now that I’m looking at Ask.com, I’m really impressed with how much the search engine has improved, especially over the last two years.

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:

Image1_3

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:

Image2

So far nothing new, but look at the top and you’ll now notice tabs. Let’s click on Statistics:

Image3

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.

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