Ask has redesigned its default search page and introduced some new features, including a new three-panel interface which integrates additional multimedia content - images, videos and music - along with the traditional text-based results.
Although Google dominates the search market, pulling in nearly fifty percent of all online search queries, Ask has its small, but loyal audience as well - 5 percent according the comScore’s April numbers.
And those existing users will likely enjoy some of the new features, which push personalization over generic search results.
The most obvious change is the merging of all types of search into a single page. The new search results page is divided into three sections - hence the “Ask3D” - with the left side containing a search box and links to expand or narrow results.
The center section contains traditional Web results. Highlights in this section are the new page previews complete with information like whether the page requires plug-ins, if there are pop up windows, page size and download time (based on a 56K modem connection).
The right column of the search results page contains auxiliary search results such as images, Wikipedia, dictionary and blog results.
There’s also a new video search, powered by Blinkx, which offers the ability to see video previews by moving your mouse over the thumbnail image.
Ask now features customizable skins and options for saving and sharing results with other users via folders of “MyStuff”.
For more detailed information on all the new features check out the Ask about page.
All in all Ask’s relaunch is impressive and features make the site easier to use and more content rich, but at the same time Ask has a long road ahead of it if it wants to continue competing with Google.