Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Results: Ask.com Vs. Google.com

A while back I posted that I would completely abandon google.com for my preferred search engine and move to ask.com. This test was inspired by an article at Econimist.com that interviewed the Ask's boss, Jim Lanzone. Inspired by his enthusiasm towards ask.com, I decided to leap head first into the search engine and did not use Google for one whole month.

The results after the jump!


I thought about doing this in pro's and cons, but that won't be necessary. At this point in time, I feel that Google is just a better search engine. Don't get me wrong, I did get some results with ask and I did like ask. Ask.com has a great image database. I got more results with ask.com than Google’s image search, not much more but more. One good thing that you might like is that ask.com has "Adult Material" images. Anyone that has searchable free pr0n get a thumbs up from me! Sorry, but I’m a straight guy and that's how I think. Ask.com also has some nice sidebar of search tools. I didn't really find the need to use them that much though. But there is one that is worthy of a mention. It is called "my stuff". Similar to di.li.co.us, you are able to save search results online. Say you do a search and you come up with one page that you really like. Instead of going to that site and then bookmarking it, you can just click on the "save" that is next to the url of the page in your search results.

However, there were more noticeable caveat to using ask.com. Since it is not one of the more used search engines, they do not have a lot of cached sites available just yet. I have been seeing more and more, however, cached sites as the month went on. Another is that there are no "groups", as in Google’s groups, to expand on your search some more. A lot of times I have found that the answer is more clearly printed in the groups section of Google than on some website page that is full of ads and other subjects. You can search blogs and feeds with ask.com, but it’s just another website page that will be cluttered. And for my last caveat, c++/UNIX searches. I work and tinker with c++ code as well as UNIX distributions. And most of the time, when searching for c++/UNIX commands on ask.com, I often got back gibberish that was often in a foreign language, usually Chinese or something similar. I do more searches for c++/UNIX commands/code than any other search that I perform, so to get the results I did with ask was a real pain in the butt. And that is where Google comes back into the picture. Not only did I get better search results from Google’s home page on the c++/UNIX commands, Google also has the UNIX search page that also is extremely handy for c++ searches, not just UNIX.

So I'm back to using Google all the time now. I do go back to ask.com for my images search. And ask.com also has an "Adult Material" feature on their main search page as well, not just their images. And you can also customize that adult material alert to be shown or not shown, which is sort of like a parent filter if you kids use your pc at home a lot. That way, if they are searching for something that might be considered a little risqué. You get a little alert and a link:

Alert: Filtering has occurred which reduced direct exposure to sexually explicit content.
View all Adult Web results


That "View all adult web results" is the link that, if clicked, will display the adult material. you can make it so that it is not displayed and thus no adult material will be viewed. But my kids don't use my computer, so I’m sticking with Google for now. Perhaps, in the future, ask will be more developed so that can completely replace my search engine needs.

2 comments:

Psycho Dude said...

Stepping away from your default search engine tends to be like switching browsers or an OS. It's not something you get used to easily and usually you will turn back quickly, simply for the fact that you'ld have to get used to getting the right results again. It's not worth going the trouble for seeing as to how all do give pretty good results on itself already.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I agree with the analogy of psycho dude's post.

Switching search engines is like typing "ask.com" into the address bar. No more, no less. The controls are the same: blue links, page 1 2 3 4 and so on.