If you go to Ask.com today, be prepared for a completely new search experience with Ask3D. Back in December, they quietly launched AskX which was a polished up version of the current Ask.com that was used for testing the Ask experience of the future. It was infused with new features, and you’ll notice many of those features in the new Ask3D.
You may be wondering what the 3D stands for as I had. On the Ask.com blog they explain that no, viewing the site doesn’t require special red and blue glasses. The 3D stands for the three dimensions of searching:
- Query expression
- Investigating results
- Digging deeply into content.
Part of the way that they integrate these three dimensions is through the use of a three paneled interface with each panel holding a variety of those time-saving features. The ask.com homepage itself is very simple and includes a customizable background with 11 different skins to choose from (I chose Azul).
As mentioned, the search results are displayed and divided among three panels. I decided to do a search for Chicago, Illinois. In the left sidebar, you’ll find the search box along with options for narrowing and expanding the search. In the main middle section, you’ll find all of your results, and for this particular search, a map (the search was for a city), along with sponsored results. In the right side-bar there was other helpful information like images, a blurb from Wikipedia on Chicago, what the current weather was, the current time, and the population. It’s a lot of information but it’s divided up and displayed well so that it doesn’t seem cluttered.
One thing I noticed was that there are fewer ads. I use Google on a regular basis for most of my searches, and I must say, they do include a good chunk of sponsored links. As you can see with this search, Google included three sponsored links up at the top and a full right side of sponsored links as well. I really like how Ask3D uses all of the space to present information to the user and include a minimal amount of sponsored results on each page.
Overall, Ask3D is impressive. They did an amazing job on the user-interface. It simply looks good, however, I’m not sure that it will be enough to lure people away from the Search Engine that they are loyal to.
There’s a lot more to Ask3D then what was mentioned here. Go take a look around and let us know your first impressions, I think you’ll like it.