Google may be the 800-pound gorilla of the search engine marketplace, but that isn’t stopping Ask.com, which today unveiled a redesign dubbed Ask3D, it latest effort to make Internet searches more efficient for users and, of course, gain some marketshare back from Google.
“On average, it takes people four queries to find what they are searching for online,” said Jim Lanzone, CEO of Ask.com. “Ask3D reduces the amount of hunting and pecking it takes for people to find what they need. We do this by delivering the right information, from the deepest range of content, all on one clean and simple page. With Ask3D, we are taking a leap towards the future of search.”
Ask3D offers an interface revamp to the familiar Ask.com site. Instead of presenting search results in a long list—like search engines have been doing for years—Ask3D breaks information into three separate panels. The left panel, “Query Expression,” lets users quickly refine, narrow, or broaden their search without having to leave the page or retype their query.
The center pane shows more-or-less traditional search results, but enables users to immediately preview a Web page using an improved “binoculars” feature which brings up a graphical preview of the page. Ask3D also shows information about target pages, such as the number of pop-ups they spawn, whether it uses Flash, and the amount of time it would take to load via a 56Kbps connection. The results also shows the top “Smart Answer” for a query, providing quick summaries of information to let users know if they’re on the right track.
Finally, the rightmost column will display information such as images, video links, news results, encyclopedia entries, blogs, weather, and other items which might be directly relevant to a query. users can tap into music and video directly from the search results page.
The new Ask3D interface also offers a remarkably low number of ads=, with some result pages showing no advertisements at all while offering a selection of media and search results.
Ask3D also offers location-based results for users who have created accounts, a video search, and new customized search results designed to give the most relevant results to search query from across Web pages, images, video, and other areas. The new search results work in tandem with Ask.com’s ExpertRank algorithm, which pushes results from identified expert communities to the top of results lists rather than ranking purely on the basis of popularity.
Ask3D is available now on Ask.com and is, of course, free to use.
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