19 June 2007 | Tanya Goodin

Taking a new look at www.ask.co.uk

Getting to know www.ask.co.uk

It has been a while since I last had a really good look at Ask
but I started to notice an increase in traffic on some sites so thought
I would check it out. And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

Now their results are still sometimes off target but are really not any worse (in fact, are often better) than MSN but I do think Yahoo! is still doing a better job, mostly.

So the search is OK but what impressed me the most, and are you listening Google, is the layout and extra information that is provided.

Check out the image at the bottom of this article!

Let’s start with the look. A really simple layout, similar to Google
with a search box but they also have some nice images to help you
select whether you want results to come from the Web, Images, News or
Blogs. Dead easy. You can also select to refine your search from the
‘UK Only’ as well and go to the ‘Advanced Search’ and check out the
‘skins’ option where you can customise the appearance of the search

So what happens when you search? The first thing you will notice is
that as soon as you start typing in a search query a drop down of
suggeted terms appears in much the same way as does if you have the
Google Toolbar installed. But this is really handy and comes up with
some good suggestions built in around your initial search. This feature
can be disabled if you want to.

When you get into the search results you will notice a few things
that are differant. The page is split into three columns and the search
box moves into the left hand column. You also get more suggestions to
refine and narrow your search as well as expand the search as well,

The main results are contained in the central column and consist of
5 sponsored results, 10 natural results and then 5 more sponsored
results. I do have a criticism that there is very little distinction
between the natural and sponsored results.

You are also offered the chance to search via Excite and Lycos, remember them?

The final column on the right hand side contains an image search
including actual images for you to click through. There is also a
dictionary definition as well.

So overall I really liked the options available, the fact that some
of it is customisable and that depending on the search you type in
differant options are available. For example if you search for a
product you are offered a selection of these from Asks partners.

So well done Ask and this may be what the Google Universal Search
could end up looking like. Now if only Ask could get their results to
be as good as Google!

Taking a new look at www.ask.co.uk

Tanya Goodin

Tanya Goodin

Founder of Tamar