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Ask Mobile Search Launches

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Ask.com Mobile Home Page

Ask.com has launched a mobile search product at m.ask.com or mobile.ask.com. Ask Mobile is optimized for mobile devices and uses Skweezer throughout to improve readability and download speed on your mobile device.

Navigating Ask Mobile was a pleasure on my Treo. You click on links, navigate to them, but especially nice is the ability to type in a number that corresponds to the link you want to navigate to.

For example, pressing 1 takes me to web search. If I search on [football] as an example, you can then see the smart answers at the top of the results and then five results listed out.

Ask.com Mobile Search Results

Typing 1 while on that page will direct me to the first result, through Skweezer. Press 9 will give me more options and pressing 0 will take me home.

My main complaint that this was expected in "sometime in 2005" and it is already 10 months into 2006.

Here is a break down of features:

- Web Search:
-- Explained above
-- Stores recent searches
-- Many smart answers enabled
-- Squeezer enabled
-- Zoom features (search refinements)
-- 5 results per page

- Directions:
-- Driving Directions
-- Walking Directions
-- List View
-- Turn by turn view (nice when walking)
-- Maps (explained later)
-- Find nearby feature
-- Sent to phone via SMS

- Maps
-- Street Views
-- Aerial Views (very cool for mobile - example)
Ask Mobile Maps
-- Zoom in or out
-- Sent to phone via SMS
-- Find nearby feature

- Images
-- 3 image results per page

- Business Listings
-- similar to maps and directions find nearby business feature

- Weather
-- Not full weather functionality but the most important
-- Type weather 10010 or your zip code into web search and you get a weather smart answer

- Bloglines link
- Area Codes
- Currency Conversion
- Horoscope
- Time Zones

Here is the official release from Ask.com

Search On The Go With New Ask Mobile Search

Ask Mobile Optimizes Search for Mobile Devices

NEW YORK, October 12, 2006 – Ask.com®, a wholly-owned business of IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ: IACI) and the fastest growing search engine on the Web, today introduced Ask Mobile (http://mobile.ask.com), a new service for searching the Web from mobile devices. Designed to minimize keystrokes, increase navigability on small displays and accelerate page loads, Ask Mobile offers a special interface and search tools to help searchers find what they are looking for faster. The announcement was made at DigitalLife, a consumer event in New York City dedicated to educating consumers on what the digital lifestyle means in every aspect of life - at work, home and play.

“Mobile is an increasingly important access point for searchers,” said Jim Lanzone, CEO of Ask.com. “The new Ask Mobile makes it easy for users of Web-enabled cell phones, PDAs and other mobile devices to take advantage of the world-class relevance and industry-touted search tools offered by Ask.com.”

Key Features

Special Interface for Mobile Users
Ask Mobile offers links to key search categories directly from the home page, making it easier to navigate to relevant results. The design saves significant keystrokes for many searches; for example, looking for the weather in the 94114 zip code requires 50 percent fewer keystrokes on Ask Mobile compared to mobile products offered by other major search engines. Fewer keystrokes is an extremely important concept when considering the difficulty of typing on mobile devices and the absence of full-sized keyboards.

“Ask Mobile is designed specifically for search on mobile devices, instead of shoehorning a PC interface into a mobile product,” said Doug Leeds, vice president of product management for Ask.com. “Extensive testing showed that, by eliminating the search box from the home page and instead providing links to key search services, users were more successful in getting to what they were looking for, significantly increasing their satisfaction.”

Ask Mobile utilizes Skweezer technology that "skweezes" Web pages to present content in a format that is easier to view and navigate on small displays and increases download speed. With the Skweezer technology, Ask Mobile allows more access to Web content by allowing pages to load that would otherwise be too memory-intensive for most mobile devices.

Search Services
Powered by Ask.com's proprietary ExpertRank algorithmic search technology, Ask Mobile provides users with highly-relevant search results, bringing authoritative sites within their topic community to the top of the results page, rather than simply ranking sites by their link popularity on the Web at large.

Ask Mobile provides direct access to important mobile search categories on the home page, including Web Search, Directions, Images, Business Listings, Maps, Weather, Bloglines™, Area Codes, Currency Conversion, Horoscope and Time Zones. Additional services, such as sport scores and movie times, will follow the initial rollout.

To see how Ask Mobile works, consider the following examples:

- Web: Try “Eisenhower” or “Angel Island.” Note Recent Search and ability to Narrow or Expand queries.
- Directions: Try “94114 & 94607.” Note ability to select List or Turn-by-Turn options, Satellite or Aerial views and Send to Phone.

- Images: Try “polar bears” or “Jessica Alba.”
- Business Listings: Try “Starbucks & 10036” or “Chinese & 94114.” Note autodial directly from listings, Street and Aerial views of maps with overlaid location pins for matching listings and Zoom and Navigation buttons.

- Maps: Try “San Francisco.” Note the unique ability to select Driving Direction, as well as Walking Directions, navigation features and option to send maps and directions to mobile devices.

- Weather: Try “10036.”
- Bloglines: Quick access to the Mobile version of Bloglines, the world's number one online RSS aggregator.
- Area Codes: Try “Miami, Fla.”
- Currency Conversion: Try “100 EUR & RUB.”
- Horoscopes: Try “Leo.”
- Time Zones: Try “Monaco.”

Instinctive Search Tools
Ask.com has been touted by press and industry pundits for its search tools and features, which take search beyond the traditional “blue links”, offering searchers a better way to find what they are looking for. Some of these features and tools are available on Ask Mobile, including Smart Answers, which provide shortcuts to answers and tools at the top of the search results page and Zoom Related Search, which provides conceptually-related suggestions to Narrow or Expand queries.

Availability
Ask Mobile is available immediately at http://mobile.ask.com. Users accessing www.ask.com from mobile devices will be automatically recognized and redirected to Ask Mobile.

About Ask.com
A leading search engine on the Web, Ask.com combines world-class search technology with one-of-a-kind search tools to help people get what they are looking for faster. Ask.com sites include Ask.com US (http://www.Ask.com), Ask.com Deutschland, Ask.com Espana, Ask.com France, Ask.com Italia, Ask.com Japan, Ask.com Nederlands and Ask.com UK. Additionally, Ask.com syndicates its search technology and advertising units to a network of affiliate partners. Ask.com is a division of IAC Search & Media, a wholly-owned business of IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ: IACI). Ask.com b-roll footage is available at www.thenewsmarket.com/ask.


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