December 4, 2006
They utilize a number of other IAC companies (Ask is an IAC company) to supplement their data such as Citysearch, Evite, and Servicemagic. They also incorporate a number of other partners not part of the IAC family.
While users of Citysearch will realize this is nothing new…Citysearch has been doing this for years, merging records from multiple data sources through partnerships and such…Ask, however, does it differently. They use their own search engine and, therefore, rank on their own idea of relevance rather than Citysearch’s take on it (which uses FAST). They also decided to use similar interfaces to Google (the map is central to the interface) and MSN’s Local Live (which uses various panes to utilize differing functions).
Ask separates out the various search types such as locations and events rather than creating a singular box/set of boxes that searches across all of them. While this diminishes convenience, it tends to increase accuracy/relevance of results. They also do as Google Local and Openlist has done and incorporate listings from a number of competing local search sites such as Insiderpages, Judysbook, and Yelp.
So, in short, this product is different than their “Local” product that they originally had which was built entirely of of citysearch where they accessed their content and utilized their search engine through an API. It incorporates more data and has a different interface. The ability to draw over the map and save the map is nice but I’d only want to do that to send it to someone with remarks on the map (i.e. Here’s how to get there…) and you can only email a link to that page rather than the image. I don’t like having multiple different panes for various functions. While it tends to increase relevance by narrowing down what the user intends, it tends to be cumbersome and I have to spend time searching around the page to find what it is I need to click on.
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