Ask.com has released version 11 of their new search engine today. The new version somewhat goes back to the Ask Jeeves approach, focusing on providing structured search results, mostly in the form of answers.
We expected this was coming and now it has. Ask.com is focusing more on structured sources of content to formulate the search results. Jim Safka told the NY Times that this makes the search engine faster, in fact, they estimate it is now 30 percent faster than the previous version. The structured results seem to come from many of their content syndication deals and they have added an answers section that pulls from sources like Yahoo Answers and WikiAnswers. Ask.com calls this, “Q&A pairs.”
Ask 11 drops the third panel from Ask 3D to provide what they call an easier to read and use interface.
Technologizer documents many of the marketing campaigns Ask has gone through over the years. It makes for a good read.
Overall, like I said, we expected this to come. After seeing it, I personally still do not consider Ask.com to be a core search engine and thus do not consider them to be in the race with Google, Yahoo or Microsoft. In fact, I find it interesting that Ask.com is bring back the Jeeves approach, which failed back then – but they hope will work now.