What is Ask.com?
Ask.com has many features similar to Google—on Ask.com, you can search for images, videos, news, and more. Ask.com also features a Q& A-type engine that encourages users to type in full questions rather than key phrases only. On an engine like Google, you'd search using boolean operators, but on Ask.com, you can type in questions and generate a list of responses to your query.2 Ask.com does, however, support traditional keyword searching.
Ask.com allows users to turn on a content filter. The default setting allows adult content to come up but displays an adult content alert screen before showing you a potentially bad web page. http://www.ask.com/webprefs Ask.com is also known for its unique privacy feature, AskEraser, which allows users to search without any of their info being stored on Ask.com servers. Ask.com is the first major search engine to allow this type of anonymous searching.3
Ask.com also has a kid-focused search engine at AskKids.com.
Ask.com was founded as Ask Jeeves in 1996. The company is owned by NASDAQ:IACI, and is headquartered in Oakland, California. 4 Ask Jeeves began as a project of David Warthen, a video game creator, and Garret Gruener, a venture capitalist. 5 The company was renamed Ask.com in 2006, when the Jeeves character was phased out. 6
In June of 2007, the Ask3D feature was introduced. 7 Ask3D is a re-engineered version of the original Ask.com that offers "three dimensions" of searching—"query expression, investigating results, and digging deeply."
In December of that year, AskEraser came out. AskEraser helps protect users' privacy by erasing their search queries from Ask.com's servers. This means that all cookie-type info, such as your IP address, user ID, session ID, and the complete text your queries is not saved by Ask.com. 8 AskEraser can be turned on and off by the user by clicking the AskEraser link on the top right corner of the Ask.com page. AskEraser has been praised by the Center for Democracy and Technology as an "important step toward giving Internet users choice in how they control sensitive information about their online activities." 9
Jeeves began as a central element of Ask.com's philosophy. The Jeeves character, pictured below, was created to promote the engine as "a friendly and trusted assistant who
provides help and guidance on the Web." 10 Based on a fictional valet or "gentleman's personal gentleman" from P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster, the Jeeves character was depicted as a classy and congenial butler. 11
However, the original company, Ask Jeeves, decided to phase out the Jeeves character and change its name to the shorter Ask.com. The site gave Jeeves a graceful exit, picturing him sailing off onto new horizons as he "retired" in style. You can still find Jeeves on the British and international versions of the site.
Where Can I Learn More?
Ask.com launches new Q&A engine.