Ask.com’s “Secret” AskX: take a look at some SERP innovation

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There’s a new flavor of Ask.com in town folks. It’s called AskX and it’s tasty.

First off, take a peek if you haven’t already: http://www.askx.com. That’s Ask’s new Ajax-based platform for experimentation. Think of it as a Google Labs, but integrated in one place.

Ask’s PR firm describes it as “our experimental “sandbox” where we will be testing some search innovations and user experiences that may become part of our main search engine in the future.”

I have to say, based on absolutely nothing objective save this coffee-induced heart racing, Ask is my Search Engine of the year this year.

They impressed the hecky-hoo out of me with AskCity and I see local as being a crucial backbone to the IAC properties (Diller says so too though Andrey thinks it may not gain traction in the space).

AskX brings back some of the excitement of search innovation – I remember the days when Google would actually make big-deal changes to their SERPs. Now Digg lights up every time they italicize a letter.

AskX is radical in its SERPs display (the most immediately noticeable aspect is the three-column separation). I think it’s a wonderful wonderful move for Ask, who, to me, has always been a very smart but very stodgy player in the search industry.

An AskX Test Drive
Most of the places typically reserved for ads hold “good guesses” regarding what kind of information users may be searching for.

For example, a search on Louisville, Ky (my hometown to which I’m flying in just a few hours) shows in the right column the weather, the current time, the population, a wikipedia entry on Louisville and pictures.

In short, Ask is making as many assumptions as possible about what what you’re looking for and they’re packaging them in useful ways.

A search for my pal Andy Beal includes his recent blog posts up at the top, plus a link to his blog feed so that folks can subscribe to it (likely a feed from bloglines…).

For a search on MarketSmart Interactive it appears that the results are a bit biased towards the titles of blog posts and possibly redirects (same results as Ask.com… probably because it’s a relatively new URL).

If you search for my current favorite movie Talladega Nights the first thing you’ll notice is all the suggestions as you’re typing… (try it out). Also note that they’re serving up Blinkx video results.

Why Keep an Eye on AskX?
For one thing, you can be dang sure that GOOGLE IS. Will we see a tri-column SERP soon at Google? Nah, but anything that makes it to the main Ask page from AskX is something to watch for in Google.

Take it for a test drive yourself. You may ask yourself… “what’s this curious sensation I’m having as I search?” That’s right search marketers, it’s called WONDER (well, if you’ve had enough coffee ;) .

Other Reviews:
Ask X (Phillip Lenssen taking a break from writing about Google for a moment ;)
Review of Ask X provides a more systematic review than me :)

About the Author

Garrett French educates SEO and PR teams on content and engagement-based link building strategies that drive targeted referral traffic and deliver SERP domination. Learn more about him and his services at CitationLabs.com.

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2 Comments

  1. Andrey Milyan

    Ask X interface reminds me of AOL's FullView.

    I do have to agree, Ask gets the gold medal for innovation this year. Askcity is superb.

    A

  2. Webmaster

    They are doing so much more than it looks like.

    Try doing the same search a few times over. The layout changes!

    They are doing live user testing!!!