Search Engine Ask.com Gets Major User Interface Rework

Ask.com, the fourth biggest search engine in the world, has unveiled a series of improvements to its site in terms of user interface and the way the site itself works.

The new iteration of the search engine, which is now owned by InterActiveCorp, is going live in the US today and will be rolled out in the UK on the 20th of October, backed by an international TV campaign that will see Little Britain character Fat Pat starring in Ask.com ads. (ed: Are they planning to do a Mac vs. PC campaign?)

Ask.com now promises to be faster and provide more relevant answers through a more "enjoyable and simple user interface". This has been done through a number of enhancements to the proprietary search technology that Ask.com employs and has helped to reduce the loading times of the website by two thirds over the last year.

The search engine will also introduce throw its weight behind the concept of semantic searching with the launch of Direct Answers from Database and Search which, we suspect, will combine the more social approach of sites like Yahoo Answers or Amazon's Askville.

The site, which dropped its trademark butler in 2006 and the suffix "Jeeves", has scrambled to compete with the other major search engines like Google, MSN and Yahoo and has seen its market share dropped to a mere 2 percent in the UK and US, its most important markets.

The BBC reports though that Ask.com still accounts for 46 million shares in UK alone in August 2008 which, while small, still accounted for 20 percent of all people using search engines.