Last night I reported at Search Engine Land that Ask.com Tests New Search Interface With Ask X. This is what I wrote:
The Read Write Web blog first spotted Ask.com testing a new interface they named Ask X. The new interface sports a steel background for the home page with more goodies inside. A search on Ask X for barry schwartz shows a three column pane interface. On the left hand side is the search box, where you can type and as you type you see search suggestions appear below the search box [Note From Danny: Pity this doesn't happen on the home page as well]. In the middle column is a smart answer, followed by two paid listings and then the organic results, with Ask.com's binoculars. You can also save to "my stuff" each result, if you mouse over them, notice the notepad with a plus sign. On the right pane you see image results, latest RSS results from blogs and the wikipedia entry of Barry Schwartz (not me, the other one). Gary Price himself has a bunch more details about the new release, so check it out here. You can also see more information at Ask.com and access Ask X at http://www.askx.com/.
In any event, I started a thread soon after at Cre8asite Forums to get more user feedback.
I noticed that many users outside of the US cannot see it without making sure to change their default preferences to US. Cre8asite Forum moderator, Ruud said:
Oh, that is quite pleasant! Place names and countries get some info extract, current time & weather, images, maps. Celebrities have a short bio, images. Many entries have an extract from Wikipedia. A non-specific search ("top stuff") returns just results. The interface is smart enough not to add images etc. Some searches ("Matt Cutts", "Barry Schwartz") have a Posts section in the sidebar. They do a much better job at presenting a lot of information, including sponsored stuff, than Yahoo does. Really nice... added to my bookmarks toolbar...
Forum discussion at Cre8asite Forums.