The Algorithm Is A Disappointment

from the may-we-ask-why? dept

There's a lot of discussion today about the newly revamped Ask.com, which remains in the unenviable #4 spot in terms of search market share. Basically, the site seems to have sharpened up its interface a little bit, while incorporating things like news and images into its results page. Additionally, the site offers suggested refinement searches, so if you search for "Sopranos", it'll show you a link where you can get results for "Sopranos Merchandise". All of this is fairly inoffensive, but it's really hard to see how this is going to move the dial at all. Despite the company's insistence that it has developed "A Truly New Way to Search", the whole thing looks like a spin on Google's recently announced universal search strategy, which involves incorporating more types of media into its results. The look and feel is a tad different, but so what? Even if the new Ask.com returns "better" results than Google in some instances, there's nothing here that will actually get people to switch. Right now, the company is making a big effort to explain why the new changes are cool, but most people giving the site a try won't have the benefit of someone explaining to them why the site is now so great. As such, they probably won't see it themselves.

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  1. identicon
    charlybird, 5 Jun 2007 @ 3:41pm

    Its all about the quality of the search results

    The migration to Google Search from Yahoo was due to the quality of the search results, not the add ons. The original success of yahoo was based on there edited lists of links to sites that provided, either the actual content, or an index of information related to the inquiry. This was useful but limited in scope and expensive to maintain. Google succeeded, becaused it was a hybrid of directed content based on user actions and Google editing/marketing/advertising. So if Ask.com is going to offer competition, it has to provide search results that have a noticable quality advantage over its competitors.

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