Home Ask X – New UI for Ask.com Secretly Launched

Ask X – New UI for Ask.com Secretly Launched

Tonight I stumbled upon what appears to be a brand new User Interface for Ask.com. I
was doing some searches on Ask.com, when I noticed a link in the
top right asking me to try out something called Ask X. Screenshot below:

When I clicked on the link, it regenerated my original query using a new interface –
labeled Ask X. The following 3-pane UI displayed:

The 3-pane UI is pretty similar to the Ask City UI,
which was launched a couple of weeks ago. Ask X appears to be live right now, at this
domain: http://www.askx.com. There’s no mention of it
on the official Ask.com site, but there is an About page on Ask X which
explains more:

“Thanks for stumbling upon Ask X, our double-secret sandbox for testing Ask
experiences of the future.

In today’s version of Ask X, you’re not just getting back a list of links, but a
slick, new three-panel interface (much like the new AskCity), combining great time-saving features

* Left: A search control panel that stays with you, complete with Zoom Related
Search and Search Suggestions that update as you type.

* Middle: Results front and center to provide clutter-free information without
having to scroll down the page, and Binoculars to preview results.

* Right: A preview of other types of search results, including video, news,
images, blogs, shopping, encyclopedia and more.”

I explored the new Ask X and was impressed with the slickness of the UI, which has a
liberal dose of Ajax. Also it makes the range of topical information that Ask provides
much easier to digest and navigate, when presented across 3 panes. For example here’s a
search on one of my music heroes, Lou Reed:

On the left, there are options to refine or expand your search (e.g. search for Uncle
Lou’s lyrics). In the center, the main search results are headed by a ‘smart answer’
about Lou – including options to search for music downloads and ringtones. And in the
right pane is extra topical info: images, shopping, video (see below – this is new), and
an excerpted Wikipedia profile of Lou.

Video search results are included in the right hand pane, a feature which is
not yet offered on Ask.com. Here’s an example, from my “lou reed” search:

I also searched for my home city, Wellington, to see what it displayed. There was some
extra information in the right pane – time, weather and geographic facts.


Ask X, the new interface for Ask.com, delivers a lot of useful, topical information across 3 panes in the first page of search results. So with the help of some Ajax magic, Ask X presents a very slick and appropriate solution to information overload. It also complements their focus on
topic clusters and “smart answers” – see our
profile of Ask.com
last month for more info on how Ask.com is differentiated from

I’m looking forward to seeing Ask X go live on the main Ask.com site! Although it looks
like I have a head start, because now when I go to ask.com it defaults to Ask X. There is an ‘Exit Ask X’ link, but actually I think I’ll stay right where I am…

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