Ask And Ye Shall Find

Once again, I return to an issue I’ve already mentioned before… The importance of websites realising that in order to be competitive, they have to move forward with user’s needs.

So, it’s with no great surprise that Ask, an old-school search engine, has opted for a total facelift and new approach to dealing with user searches. If you happen to be as old as me, you’ll remember that they did this before, back in 2006, when they gave their butler-image the sack. Now, after alread intoducing new applications, they’re going to be focusing upon being the search engine of choice for users who are asking direct questons. (eg. Is there no end to the talents of DigitalGeekUK? Will he ever be the next Bill Gates? Why have I read this far?!) Recent data from ComScore support this, as they found that Ask is more often used by people searching for specific answers to questions… (The clue is in the name)… Search Queries that use questions make up around 5% of searches on Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Live, but accounts for 15% of Ask’s searches. Sounds like a lot, but remember that Ask only has a 2% market share in online search!

So, it seems that Ask will be restructuring themselves around this as we well know that rivals are increasingly looking at ways to set themselves apart from Google in the competitive world of search. The new Ask site will be launched in the UK on October 20th, but is already live in the US. Sneak preview here, guys.

It looks a lot like Google, and doesn’t try to hide this fact, openly claiming to have “borrowed” design ideas from the mighty search leader. Ask also claim that the re-designed site will be faster, improve search results and produce more relevant results for the user.

Whilst they undoubtably have a challenging task ahead, it’s not all bad news. Even with such a small UK marketshare, the lastest figures from Neilson show that during August, 46m searches were conducted on Ask, which is roughly one in five of all people using a search engine. Maybe the figures will be even better this time next year?


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