A Look Back At The Old Search Engines

The Six Revisions blog complied an excellent list of the classic search engines, some dating back to the 1990s. His list includes screen shots of both the old and current (if available) versions of HotBot, Excite, WebCrawler, Ask Jeeves, Ask.com, Yahoo, Google, Dogpile, AltaVista, Lycos, MSN Search, Bing, AOL Search, Infoseek, Go.com, Netscape, MetaCrawler, and All The Web. Scrolling down the list and looking at some of those old screen shots bring back fun memories. Of course, there are many search engines missing, too many to list there or even here. But looking at the old screen capt [...]


Ask.com Expands AnswerFarm Q&A Database

Continuing its move from being a traditional search engine to an "answer engine," Ask today has announced that its "AnswerFarm" database has tripled in size, from 100 million Q&A pairs to 300 million. Ask says they've also improved the quality of the Q&A database content: "Our semantic search technology advancements in clustering, rephrasing, and answer relevance enable us to determine when we have multiple questions that all semantically mean the same thing, so we can aggregate those Q&A pairs, filter out insignificant and less meaningful answer formats, and thus find the most relevant [...]


Russian Roulette: McAfee Details Web’s Riskiest Search Terms

Somewhere online right now there's a music fan who's big on free downloads, likes Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" but doesn't know the lyrics, is looking for free ringtones, uses MySpace, likes to play solitaire and wants the latest game cheats. Like many of us, s/he uses a search engine to find all of these things. This person may as well be playing Russian roulette. In a recent report (PDF), online security company McAfee says those are some of the most dangerous search terms on the web. That's just a sample of the report's list of the 50 riskiest search terms in the U.S. "Maximum R [...]


Ask.com & Symantec Partner To Detect Malicious Sites

Ask.com has partnered with Symantec to include a new "Safe Search" feature into the Norton 360 security suite, integrated into the Norton toolbar that is part of the suite. When a search is run from the toolbar, results are safety-rated by Symantec using a color-coded icon, to flag sites or sections of sites that may be malicious or harmful. Mousing over a rating will open a popup window offering more details about the Safe Search rating. The toolbar works on both Internet Explorer and Firefox, and is set by default to not display "red" or potentially malicious web site in search results. [...]


Ask.com Goes Back To 1996 With New Release

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. Techmeme has coverage of the news item, with the main articles currently from the NY Times and News.com. 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 ver [...]


Ask Kids Relaunches With Cute Kids Features

A few days ago, Ask.com relaunched Ask Kids, their search flavored for children. The Ask.com blog just wrote about the launch last night. Ask.com said the Ask Kids site was "built from the ground-up, with our own search technology." It seems like Ask.com added a "very strict" list of which sites are allowed in the Ask Kids index and which are not allowed. They claim it is the "most comprehensive, kid-friendly search available today." The search result layout is pretty much the same, with a three-pane view, but it does add a more kid friendly design to it. The feature I like the best is [...]


Searching For Olympics News And Video

The Olympics are now officially under way. One of the unofficial competitions is among the search engines and companion sites to offer scores, updates and coverage of the games. Below is a roundup of where you can keep track of the medal count and watch your favorite action online. Google: Google has an Olympics homepage that showcases a range of services and tools to keep track of events, including an iGoogle gadget. Depending on what country you're in, there are different YouTube channels. And there's a mobile site. Google is also offering special OneBox results for individual Olympic [...]


Ask.com Adds Privacy Link To Home Page, Hopes People Care

Google recently came under fire for not providing a link to its privacy policy right from its home page, as Yahoo and Microsoft do. Ask.com, apparently hoping to ride the issue to some consumer gains, has emailed us that it now proudly sports a privacy link on its home page, along with some new privacy smart answers. C'mon Google, just add the link -- seven letters, PRIVACY, won't take up much space. And it will at least stop others from riding you on the issue this way, even if practically no one will click on the link. More from the Ask email, below: An Open Letter to the Web Community [...]


How Search Engines Redirect Users To Country-Specific Sites

Yahoo just started redirecting people in the UK who are trying to reach Yahoo.com instead to its Yahoo UK web site, something that Google has done for a long time. With the change, this seemed a good time to revisit how all the major search engines may intercept people trying to reach their ".com" versions from countries outside the United States. Below, the examples are drawn from someone in the UK trying to reach .com versions of each of the major search engines. Those in other countries often will find similar interception in place. Yahoo If you are based in the UK, Yahoo will [...]


IAC Cuts 8% Of Ask.com & Kills Search Engine

IAC's Ask.com to Cut Staff, Outlines New Search Strategy from the Wall Street Journal reports IAC has cut 8% of Ask.com's workforce, by letting go 40 people. Not only that, the Wall Street Journal says IAC is changing the strategy of the search engine to "focus to better answering search queries posed as questions." Ask's new chief executive, Jim Safka said "as we revamped things, we had redundancies," explaining they "are reorienting the company around" areas they can grow. So, in my opinion, instead of building out core technologies to compete in the search space, Ask.com will now go back [...]


Ask.com Adds More Sponsored Ads, Pushing Organic Results Below Fold

I was messing around with the Ask.com interface on my Mac and decided to compare some results between my Mac browser and Internet Explorer for PC. I noticed that Ask.com is now displaying five sponsored results for many keyword searches. The organic results are now below the fold, like they once were before dropping Jeeves. One of many searches where you can find five sponsored results at the top of the Ask.com results is for mp3 players. Here is the result in IE for PCs: But when you search in Safari or Firefox, you only get three ads at the top: This is a huge shame. It was one o [...]


Ask.com Binoculars Adds Compete.com Stats

Ask.com has announced that they have added site statistics from Compete.com to the binoculars feature in the search results. Now, instead of just getting a site preview, you also get estimated visitor stats, site rank, a line chart to plot this data over time, and a link to a more detailed report over at Compete.com. Why did Ask.com add this? It helps the searcher not only preview what the site looks like but also tells the user how popular the site is. Here is a deeper look of the new improved Ask.com Binoculars feature: I pulled up a search for my site via a query for search engine rou [...]


Google: We Didn’t Censor Aboutrika’s Gaza T-Shirt Photo

Google's Matt Cutts has lent his personal blog to the Google Images search team so they could debunk a rumor that Google censored an image of an Egyptian football player, Mohammad Aboutrika, stripping off his team jersey during the African Cup Of Nations to show a "Sympathize With Gaza" T-shirt underneath. No censoring, says Google -- it was just a problem with Google Images being stale. I can totally believe that explanation. It's just embarrassing that it's the same explanation Google gave when a similar question over Google Images came up in 2004. Over four years later, you'd exp [...]


Ask Offers Smart (Election) Answers

Thanks to Gary Price for pointing out that Ask.com is offering its own round up of content and information related to the primaries via its core "Smart Answers" functionality in search results. Search for "Super Tuesday" and you get a host of links and a pull-down menu that sends users to more information for their particular state. Related news images and election-oriented video appear in the right column. [...]


Customizing Your Search With Ask.com

Don't like the backgrounds available on Ask.com? No problem. Now you can upload any image you want. For instance, maybe you'd like this one! The new background feature is part of the skinning ability launched as part of Ask3D last year. The other engines offer some customization features as well. You can upload your own image and create themes with iGoogle. While iGoogle's feature is more versatile (as the documentation says, "This makes it easy to create a story that unfolds throughout the day, landscapes that change as the sun rises and sets, and abstract images that become more comple [...]


Privacy Group Finds Flaws In AskEraser’s Privacy Tool

Group says Ask's privacy feature is flawed from News.com reports that the Electronic Privacy Information Center has found a few flaws in AskEraser, Ask.com's new privacy searching feature. The three problems are: AskEraser uses an opt-out cookie instead of an opt-in cookie. Ask stores the time that the user enables AskEraser, which can potentially be used to figure out searches done while using AskEraser. Ask's FAQs says that if a court order requires them to turn over search data, even with AskEraser on, they will. My main issue is with the last point is that Ask has this line in the [...]


Ask.com Launches AskEraser Giving Searches Ability To Search Anonymously

Ask.com has launched AskEraser, giving searchers the ability to search anonymously. Ask.com told us about this tool back in July, and six months later, it's now live for all searchers to use. When a searcher activates AskEraser, Ask will stop recording the searcher's search queries and cookie information. This information includes IP address, User ID, Session ID, and the complete query text. AskEraser is available across many of Ask.com's properties, including Web search, image search, AskCity, news search, blog search, video search, and Maps & Directions. How does it work? At the top r [...]


Search 3.0: The Blended & Vertical Search Revolution

This has been a remarkable year. After years of no real dramatic evolution in search, the third generation finally arrived. Google calls it Universal Search, and I've been tending to say "blended search" as a generic name for the change that's now hit all the major search engines. But in doing the agenda for our upcoming SMX West conference, a better term for what's going on finally clicked: Search 3.0. In this article, I'll cover the why and what of Search 3.0, taking in Search 1.0 and 2.0 along the way and touch on how Search 4.0 -- personal and social refinement -- is on the way. [...]


Ask.com Adds Current Time Feature For Local Searches

Ask.com is now displaying a clock showing the local time in relation to local searches. For example, search for san jose, ca, and you'll see the local time there appearing in the right-hand column, like this: Give it a try for your favorite city. [...]


Ask’s Michael Ferguson: Optimize For Content Rich SERPs

This week kicks off the first of our guest writers on Just Behave. This week, I'm pleased to welcome Michael Ferguson from Ask.com. Michael is senior user experience analyst for Ask.com, looking at how people seek, acquire, and act on information. He informs product development with user context and design recommendations. Michael has analyzed search user behavior since 1995. —Gord Hotchkiss Search marketers will see more opportunities to grow business as the engines evolve beyond a box and ten blue links. With users exploring rich media and other content, capturing qualified cl [...]


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