Ask.com has announced a range of improvements to their search results by focusing on improvements to their semantic search technology. Semantic search aims to improve search results by leveraging data from other networks to uncover the true understanding of each search query.
Ask have announced a number of new technologies which should help them deliver the answer you’re looking for, no matter how your search query is phrased. To give you an example of what Ask is doing, let’s look at the query “movies on TV now”.
Major search engines like Google will give you a regular search results page with links to various TV listing sites:
On the other hand, Ask is pulling data from the TV listing sites themselves, to give you movie details straight on the search results page:
I think most users would agree that the Ask.com results are more useful, as it removes the hassle of visiting the TV listing site and conducting another search.
Ask are also trying to utilize this technology in other areas such as sports. Our goal is to give consumers answers instantly on the first results page to queries such as “who is the driver of car #60 in NASCAR?”, said Tomasz Imielinski from Ask.
You have to give Ask some credit here, even if they are the fourth most popular search engine, they’re still trying to innovate and provide better results. I admire this and have a feeling that semantic search may be a hot topic in 2009.