Jinfo BlogAsk.com goes back to its roots

Monday, 19th September 2011

By Penny Crossland

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Remember the search engine Ask Jeeves?  It was renamed Ask.com in 2005 in an attempt to launch itself as a regular search engine. However, despite its popularity amongst those online users keen to search the web using alternatives to Google, it has always languished behind the “big four” search engines.  Now, as zdnet has reported from TechCrunch Disrupt 2011, Ask.com is giving up competing with the likes of Google and Bing. It is going back to what its name implies and is launching itself as a question and answer site.

According to searchengineland, Ask.com has been working on its transition back to its origins for more than a year. However, the relaunched site, while keeping its old-fashioned Jeeves logo, has moved with the times. Users obtain information based on a model of computer-generated answers and user-generated content, which is also available as an iPhone app, with Android and tablet apps to follow shortly. Apart from web-based searches, the site also has image and video search pages. I quite liked the video search facility, which has 15 categories with videos viewable in thumbnail preview formats.

As searchengineland points out, the combination of social content and mobile features will set Ask.com apart from search engine competitors, however there are plenty of other Q&A sites with a social element. One cannot help wondering if the online question and answer space is getting a little crowded.

Quora, another social Q&A site was launched with great fanfare at the beginning of the year and has proved to be very popular. Other similar sites have been and gone, notably Google’s Aardvark and Google Answers. Answers.com, Yahoo Answers and increasingly Facebook Questions, are other popular social Q&A sites, so Ask.com’s success is by no means guaranteed. There are many more. By the way, for those wishing to explore the proliferation of these sites further, socialcompare.com has a useful comparison of Q&A sites.




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