Ask.com is overhauling its Web search engine to deliver faster results, improved relevance and a new user interface as it bids to win share from Google.
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"Initial feedback from customers testing the new site has been overwhelmingly positive. By listening to our customers and giving them what they want, we've already seen a 14% increase in customer satisfaction," said Jim Safka, Chief Executive Officer of Ask.com. "Ask.com is well on its way to accelerating growth with an improved product, expanded distribution, and an emotionally resonant brand."
Through a combination of recent enhancements to its proprietary search technology, Ask.com has made significant advancements in its core relevance versus this time last year. These improvements have already demonstrated a 16% increase in customer retention.
"On average, it takes consumers three clicks to find what they are searching for online. Ask.com's goal is to reduce this to one click of the search box," added Safka.
By going deeper into the highest-volume categories such as Entertainment, Health & Nutrition, Jobs, and Reference, Ask.com is now able to deliver more direct answers front and center on the results page.
For Entertainment-related searches like "Is COPS on TV tonight?" or "What NFL games are on TV this Sunday?" Ask.com now presents local channel and time information right on the results page. For Reference-related searches like "Can I drink milk after the expiration date?" Ask.com now pulls and instantly displays answers such as "A day or two after, yes, you'll be fine. More than that, it'll be pretty off-flavored" - real-time, real-life examples taken from user-generated and professional content sites, right on the results page.
Ask.com has also simplified its user interface and now ranks and integrates content from a broader and more comprehensive set of content types - such as breaking news, blogs, images, videos, and music - right into the center panel.
Additionally, Ask.com improved site download speeds by 30% versus this time last year.
The company believes it can grow market share and revenue by taking advantage of the distractions of competitors such as Yahoo and Microsoft, who have spent much of the year in on-off merger talks. Yahoo and Microsoft are No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, in U.S. search.
The majority of Ask's revenue comes through a search advertising partnership with Google, which brings up links of relevant advertisers in response to a user's search query.