Is Ask a Better Search Engine than Google?

Apr 26, 2007 • 10:17 am | comments (16) by twitter | Filed Under Google Search Engine
 

Google might have the highest market share, the most visitors, and is the most powerful brand of 2007, but the other search engines happen to exist for a reason: they satisfy the needs of users. A WebmasterWorld member actually finds Ask, which is the weakest of the four at the present, to be the best search engine. His claim is that "it produces much better results." Furthermore, to its credit, "Ask is naturally more difficult to game, and no Ask rep has needed to ask webmasters to rat on their colleagues - because it hasn't needed to."

Good observation. But his post went unanswered for several days until someone pointed out that while Ask does show promise, they have other issues: "poor spidering [and] very low caching ability." Worse, "their complete absense here on webmasters world, their refusal to engage with webmasters, plus the lack of referals does mean no one hearabouts gets excited about ask."

Another member has similar findings, especially after reviewing his server logs:

In my case, I can easily see that Ask/Teoma bot keeps asking for non-existing, deprecated URLs, which have been superseded over 2.5yr ago.

For some reason, Ask/Teoma bot is very slow to spider new pages, readily crawlable from the site's linking structure (or by consulting the sitemap.xml new standard), with deeplinks from other sites. Instead, many of its requests end up 404s (i.e. waste of resources, both its own and ours).

These observations do not boost my confidence in Ask's ability to find relevant content.

But there's more. Andy Hagans writes a blog post urging Ask (and Microsoft) to respect users' privacy. He considers it a "business opportunity" if the smaller engines would become a "privacy engine," so that user results are not stored for more than 2 weeks/2 months.

At a certain point, search relevancy is a relative commodity (is Google really that much better than is was a year ago?), and other priorities are going to determine where searchers hang their hats. For millions of searchers out there, the overriding “other priority” is privacy.

Hey, I hear you, Andy.

In 2004, Barry also reported about Ask.com as a search engine that shows a terrific amount of potential. Still, they could do so much more if they engage in the community. I think that would be a wonderful thing.

Discussion continues at WebmasterWorld.

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Comments:

AjiNIMC

04/26/2007 05:57 pm

No search engine can deliver perfect result to all, it is also about the speed, brand, simplicity that rules. I am hearing good things about ask.com, I will use it for a week now.

No Name

04/27/2007 04:10 am

Overall, I would say the answer is "No".

gabs

04/27/2007 05:32 am

Need I say more than this post I made over 1 1/2 yrs ago.. http://forums.seroundtable.com/showthread.php?p=8670#post8670

No Name

05/08/2007 11:02 pm

Ok.. not really an update by as such, but apparently it is a new feature added by the web search history feature, although I believe that you might have gotten this screen yesterday if you were logged in when you performed your searches. Hmm.. I seem to like it this way, though. Is it just me or does Google have a new and better search page now? Hmm.. not sure.. perhaps my eyes are deceiving me? Anyways I like this new style.. and the gradient seems like one step forward for Google, in terms of design. Interesting. Oh and those who believe that I've probably photoshopped used Adobe Photoshop® software to digitally enhance the screen shot, you can take a look at the gradient image stored on the Google servers (or you can see a screen shot of the gradient image when viewed through Firefox incase Google decides to get rid of it). This should be enough proof that I did not create it.

Ikshwaku

07/29/2008 11:35 am

Ask, MSN, Yahoo and whatever else comes up will NEVER be better than Google in terms of being a search engine. I say this not because I am a Google fan (which incidentally I am) but because of sheer marketing and business logic dictates so. Google owns the word "search" in the internet users mindspace. Nothing can win it from Google. Nothing. What the others can do is to own another word create a niche and try and wrest some of the initiative out of Google but they simply cannot dislocate Google from the top slot. I can remember several instances when I have asked by friends or colleagues to google (mind the word .. I did not say search) the information on the net for me. Do you think that just by having a better product (in this case a search engine algo) Ask and MSN etc are going to dislodge Google? Think again. This is not a battle of the product. This is a battle of perception and in the mind of the end user Google has already won it without even a single salvo being fired by the other also rans. So as long as we are talking about internet search engines it will always be Google at the top till a radical technology development comes through and makes it obsolete or till google tries to kill itself (believe me Google is trying hard). What do these guys in Google think? They may be the best software developers in the world and may own the best brand but the brand is Google and in search engines. They are unnecessarily diluting there brand name by going into things like spreadsheets and so on.

ozzy

02/05/2009 11:31 am

ask is rubbish

irobotix

02/08/2009 07:39 pm

I guess I'll give a totally unrelated comment as well. Ask was formerly called Ask Jeeves. Google's name is not original, nor is Apple's. When Google first appeared, immediately I said to myself, "That's not fair. How can they just take the word googol and steal it like that? Of course everyone does it, and I probably will too, but that was one of my favorite math words at the time. If I was to name my future company I might have wanted to use that name. Because they were first. Because they had all the tools necessary to do so, they were able to take the name. Because they had resources, they could do that. I couldn't. I wasn't ready. I didn't have the resources. I still don't. But when I do, it would have been nice to have the option of naming my company Googol. Ikshwaku. What you just explained was already explained in the first two sentences of the blog that asks the question. I found this page through Google's search engine, looking for an answer to the question the blog is about. Your comment does not answer the question. The question is asked from a programming point of view. Is the search "engine" for Ask, a better search "engine" than Google's "engine"? That is to say, is Ask's program better at producing the proper "results" than Google's program? I'm not saying that you need to be a programmer to be able to answer the question. Ozzy's comment is almost perfect, because it gives an idea of the search "engine's" performance from one user's perspective. Although Ozzy could have been more elaborate, explaining why it was rubbish. I personally don't wish to give my opinion. I was in search of other people's opinions or a treatise on the differences between the two engine's performances from a programmatic perspective. You, on the other hand, explained that Google is the favored search engine because automatically, consciously or subconsciously, most people use Google for their searches. Your comment, however correct, therefore, is a partial treatise on Google's business and why it's rivals cannot match it and on the psychological reasons behind why Google is the preferred search engine. By the way, No Name didn't really help either. Now I know you mentioned this already, but I would like to say it again, but from a different perspective. Google, and Apple for that matter, may be at the top now, but there will come a day when they're not. All it takes is a few good thinkers.

bijoy mallick

01/12/2010 08:12 am

fuck u all motherfuckers..how dare u think of google ...which is always better than ask...fuck u all dickheads,dick sucker,cock sucker ass rimmer ...son or daughter of bitches

bijoy mallick

01/12/2010 08:13 am

fuck u all motherfuckers kick your ass right in the middle of the road

Rob Abdul

01/12/2010 12:47 pm

Ask advertises on Google. That is something to ponder over.

Johnson Yip

05/21/2010 03:56 am

Ask website results are pretty good, but Google's results for image and video search seems much better.

Dave

12/31/2010 06:32 pm

I have just downloaded mozilla firefox and ask appeared although I indicated firefox to be my default browser. I have selected to return to firefox as Google Chrome will not allow me to delete browsing history. I am confused as I did not select Ask as my browser. What is the connection?

Pcmac

09/02/2011 01:58 pm

Google is the best, because people contribute to the results simply by searching with it.  And with 4 billion users, the data base is infinitely extensive.

Aaaaaa

11/03/2011 04:57 pm

f u

alkalitta

04/20/2012 09:25 pm

google is fucking junk now

COCK

10/31/2012 03:13 am

ask is terrible

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