New back-end technology, several visual overhauls, million dollar marketing campaigns and even dropping the butler have failed to help Ask.com (formerly Ask Jeeves) regain the search engine market share it lost years ago.
Late last year, Ask.com executives were talking up the search engine’s next move, which has now been unveiled through a private beta.
In a nutshell, Ask.com has been reborn as a search engine that combines their conventional “question driven” search technology with a community powered Answers site.
So why the focus on Q&A you might ask. Here’s the response from the release post:
From a macro trend perspective, the explosion of the social Web underscores both the cultural shift and massive technical innovation of the last 15 years. Simply put: people are using the Web as a conversational medium, ergo, consumers are increasingly asking questions (evidenced by demonstrated interest in Q&A from Google, Facebook and an entire cadre of start-ups).
Here’s some of the features that Ask.com believe will help attract users back:
- Proprietary technology designed for Q&A: Our semantic approach is not simply re-purposed search technology. We’ve taken the last year to enhance our offering to locate the most relevant, high-quality answer and display it right at the top of page (surfing through 10 blue links not required).
- Largest index of questions and answers – 500 million “pairs” and growing: As the number one brand for asking questions, we have the world’s largest index of questions and answers with the ability to extract questions and matching answers from hundreds and thousands of Web sources.
- The human element: To make our community the most effective, Ask.com has the ability to route questions to relevant people based on interests and expertise. This means only the right people will be asked to answer a specific question, reducing spam and question fatigue. Responses from our community will also be indexed and available (depending on level of freshness and relevance) to address future questions posed on Ask.com.
- New look and feel: Our site now makes it abundantly clear we are razor-focused on empowering our users to ask and answer questions. You can now access trending information, including the day’s most popular questions, across multiple areas of the site. Learn more detail about our new UI here.
Time will tell whether this refocus on old with a new spin will deliver Ask.com the engagement and user growth it’s after, but if you want to give the beta a test run, then you can register for an invite here.
If you do sign up and take it for a test drive, pop back and let us know how the new Ask.com search engine works for you.