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You Can't Ask Jeeves Anymore

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  • Madison Lockwood
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 4, 2006
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      Please consider this free-reprint article written by:
      Madison Lockwood

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      Article Title: You Can't Ask Jeeves Anymore
      Author: Madison Lockwood
      Word Count: 676
      Article URL: http://www.isnare.com/?aid=80923&ca=Internet
      Format: 64cpl
      Author's Email Address: articles[at]apollohosting.com (replace
      [at] with @)

      Easy Publish Tool: http://www.isnare.com/html.php?aid=80923

      ================== ARTICLE START ==================
      The new http://Ask.com search engine, minus Jeeves the butler,
      has a simple home page design along the lines of Google, with
      an unadorned list of major options along the right side. That
      list is headlined 'Search Tools' and includes:

      * Web
      * Images
      * News
      * Maps & Directions
      * Local
      * Weather
      * Encyclopedia
      * Ask for Kids
      * Dictionary
      * Blogs & Feeds

      The main search feature (Web) turns up the usual list of
      keyword-inspired responses. An innovative touch in this section
      provides suggested phrases (clickable) to either narrow or
      expand your search. That's an impressive concept, if it works
      well. It is all too easy to be led into the wilderness with
      search results; Ask is offering some tools to help short
      circuit that problem. The image section is similar to other
      search engines.

      The News section shows signs of being a shallow concoction, in
      need of a full time editorial staff and perhaps some original
      content. For example, under world news there are three
      headlines that are nearly identical from three different news
      feeds - Reuters, CBS and MSNBC. The notion of defining a news
      story as "found" is a little disconcerting. As is problematic
      with many similar news searches, a click on one story
      originating from the Los Angeles Times led to a page demanding
      that you register as an L.A. Times subscriber (free) in order
      to read the story. Though frustrating, this can't be entirely
      laid at the feet of http://Ask.com.

      Their Local search is a well done and convenient feature. Enter
      a product or service (e.g. "tires") and a zip code into a search
      bar, and Ask will bring up a list of local businesses that
      provide the product, addresses, phone numbers, websites if
      available, and a map to the location. Also included is an
      estimate of the distance between your zip code and the business
      establishment.

      The Encyclopedia button will take you either to Wikipedia, or
      to a standard Ask search response, or both: the search results
      headed by a Wikipedia listing. Like the News page, this feature
      is a cobbled together approach to a service prominently
      displayed on Ask's home page.

      Ask for Kids is a well executed feature, although its news
      resources button takes you (or your child) to a menu of other
      sources, such as Yahooligan News, Time for Kids and CNN for
      Students. There is a search bar on the kid's page that seems to
      work well. A random search for "dinosaurs" brought up referrals
      and links to several educational pages on dinosaurs and a drop
      down menu of dinosaurs by species inviting further research. A
      well designed feature.

      Entering a term for search on the Dictionary page gets you an
      actual dictionary definition of the word at the top, followed
      by a standard list of search responses. If the definition
      feature is thorough, this feature functions just as well as
      going to an online dictionary such as Merriam Webster. The
      Dictionary option is a new and positive addition to search page
      design.

      Their Weather button was baffled by my zip code, showing no
      returns. However the search results below listed a response to
      the zip code on http://weather.com. If Ask intends to offer a
      weather service, it should be as effective as the sites that
      come up on its search mechanism.

      The Map service offers street, aerial and regional maps, which
      is a nice selection. However a random entry of my zip code
      brought up a map of a location in Poland. I've had this problem
      before with Google, so Ask may be getting their address data
      from similar sources. You have the option of entering two
      locations and asking for a map and driving instructions, as you
      would on other major search engines.

      Overall, http://Ask.com is a standard search engine with some
      new features, some of which work well and some of which need
      further refinement.


      About The Author: Madison Lockwood is a customer relations
      associate for http://ApolloHosting.com,
      http://www.apollohosting.com. As a small business consultant,
      she helps prospective clients understand how a website may
      benefit them both personally and professionally. Apollo Hosting
      provides website hosting, ecommerce hosting, & vps hosting to a
      wide range of customers.

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      ================== ARTICLE END ==================

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