We got to give credit to Ask.com for not bowing out easily from the search engine market where it is not performing well for eternity. The last time we checked, Ask.com is either at the fourth or fifth of the search engine market share ranking. But its dismal performance will not discourage Ask.com from exploring other ways by which it can improve on its search technology. Hence, a recent post at the Ask.com blog indicated a step that the search engine is taking in making its search engine more relevant and helpful in serving users’ needs – a step towards semantic search.
Interestingly, before outlining the different technologies that it is employing or will employ towards making Ask.com a semantic-search driven search engine Ask.com had to admit the major flaws of web search engines.
For millions of everyday queries, there is one, simple, direct answer the user is seeking, but the current generation of search relegates consumers to sifting through links and then searching through the Websites themselves to find the answer. Many times users have to repetitively rephrase the query before they finally get the answer they want. That’s because today’s search engines are still very sensitive to the way queries are constructed, returning different answers for variations of the same query.
And yes, those search engines include Ask.com’s own search engine.
Anyway, Ask.com is reporting that it has introduced several technologies relating to semantic, web text and answer farm search technologies. These technologies are Direct Answers from Databases (DADS), Direct Answers from Search, and AnswerFarm.
Of these three technologies, DADS is the most relevant to the answers given by Ask.com to the different queries it receives from its search engine users. DADS parses users’ queries and then form databases queries that would return answers coming from the structured data in real time. This allow Ask.com to deliver the correct answers to users’ queries regardless of how they have constructed their search keywords.
Ask.com is currently testing their DADS, DAFS and AnswerFarm on NASCAR-related search to see if their goal of delivering the correct search results of users on the first page of the search engine results pages.
Of course semantic search is no longer a new issue as the topic has been discussed comprehensively before. And even Google at some point was mulling the idea of getting into semantic search. But would it really affect Ask.com’s dismal performance in the search engine market race? Your answer is as good as mine.