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June 20, 2006

Encore, Encore!

Watch Treasure Hunters

If you're a sports fan, you may have had your TV plate full this past weekend. Maybe you missed out on our debut? NBC will be offering two encore presentations of Treasure Hunters premiere episodes this Friday and Saturday at 8/7c. For a limited time, you can even watch it online. Get it while you can.

The Hunt is on!

Editorial note:
Ask.com is unable to confirm or deny that the hunt is on "like Donkey Dong"… you'll have to check it out and let us know.

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June 16, 2006

Ask.com - The Official Search Engine of Treasure Hunters

Treasure Hunters

Don't forget to watch Treasure Hunters, which besides being a new NBC "adventure/mystery reality tv" show debuting this weekend, incorporates the Ask.com search engine into the series. Ask.com is not only there to help contestants to solve clues quickly and move on to the next destination, we're also here to help you get to know the show and the teams and contestants.

If you like Amazing Race and trying to solve riddles and puzzles.

TV schedule: 2 Hour Series Premier, Sunday June 18th at 8/7c - Regular Night & Time, Mondays at 9/8c. Set your DVRs to "Fun" & enjoy the show!

P.S. Come back to our blog next week. We might even tell you what 96 means...

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June 09, 2006

Fever Pitch: World Cup Smart Answers on Ask.com sites

CIV ANG CRO ARG AUS BRA CRC CZE ECU ENG FRA GER GHA IRN JPN ITA UKR TUN TRI USA KOR TOG SUI SWE ESP SCG POR POL PAR NED MEX KSA World Cup 2006 KOR

“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I'm very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.” Every sensible soccer aficionado will tell you that the words of historic British manager Bill Shankly are an exaggeration, that soccer is just a sport and there are more important things in life. We all know that. Except when there is a World Cup.

Ask.com has decided to celebrate the World Cup with a far less dramatic statement: comprehensive Smart Answers have been released across all of our sites Ask.com (US), Ask.com UK, Ask.com España, Ask.com DeutschlandBETA, Ask.com FranceBETA, Ask.com NederlandBETA, Ask.com ItaliaBETA, as well as more robust coverage via our US & UK sites in order to provide our users with all the information they need to follow the event. Whether you take soccer as seriously as the late Mr. Shankly did or your interest is of the sane kind, we invite you all to check it out.

Smart Answers - search example for Germany

Midfield wizard Zinédine Zidane will be playing the last games of his career with France in Germany 2006. Together with star striker Thierry Henry, he’s one of the best reasons not to miss the French team. Germany is the host this year and that always gives any team an edge in the World Cup: watch out for the very talented Michael Ballack and Lukas Podolski, one of the best young players in the Bundesliga. The Dutch team is also strong this year; historically a good performer in the World Cup, it features a terrific attacking duo with Ruud van Nistelrooij and Robin van Persie. Spain could try to shake off the quarter-finals curse that has been reducing fans to tears every four years for the last four decades; midfield star Cesc Fábregas and Spanish league’s top scorer David Villa will try to make things different this time around. Nothing has changed in the Italian team: it is still one of the most competitive in Europe and this could be their fourth Coppa del Mondo. Keep an eye on Roma’s star Francesco Totti and goalkeeper extraordinaire Gianluigi Buffon. Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley will be the players to watch for on the US team, and will no doubt cause defensive headaches for their opponents. UK fans will miss Wayne Rooney’s creativity and goal scoring prowess through the first round, but Michael Owen will hopefully help lead the English team through at least the first round.

Good luck to all!

The Ask.com Product Management Team

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June 06, 2006

Ask.com Search Tools: Weather

Weather Search

Summer's just around the corner here in the Northern Hemisphere and one's eyes are always on the sky with the hopes that the weather will come through and outdoor activities will be a go. Ask.com offers many search tools to help monitor the weather. Here's a look at a few of them and some of the search terms that will get you the Smart Answer at the top of the results page.

Current Conditions
Simply enter Weather and a location and the current conditions will appear at the top of the results page. For example, Weather Tampa or Weather 90210. By the way, if you're looking for info about a city name that's found in several states, simply add the state abbreviation or in some cases, a pull-down box will appear to help you disambiguate the location. For example, Weather Clinton. You can even search by county name and a major city in that specific county will appear. For example, weather Alameda County offers conditions for Oakland, CA. If you need more weather info, Ask.com comes through for you.

Detailed Weather
Entering detailed weather provides you with info like humidity, wind speed, and more. Remember, it makes no difference if you place the location before or after the phrase "detailed weather." Here's an example. It's interesting to note see with this example that a place named Chicago, WI exists and Ask.com has the info. Yes, we try to be as comprehensive as possible. :-)

Seven Day Forecast
Planning a week or so in advance for a summer outing is something that lots of us do. Of course, no forecast or weatherman is perfect (hardly), but Ask.com offers a look at the weather seven days out. Again, just enter "seven day forecast" and a specifc city or Zip Code or just forecast and city or Zip Code and your seven day look at the weather will appear as a Smart Answer at the top of the results page. Handy!

Any Way You Want It
Think 16º sounds cold? Not if it's 16º Celsius. The link on the right side of the Smart Answer offers you a choice of displaying the temperature in Fahrenheit or Celsius. Of course, weather info is not just limited to the United States. Depending on the location, you'll find some weather Smart Answers for cities and locations around the globe. For example: weather in Montreal, detailed weather Sydney, Australia or detailed weather Mumbai/Bombay, India.

Traveling? Ask Before You Pack
One of our most useful travel features for weather is our historical climate search tools. Many users are surprised to see that we can provide more general info. Let's say you're planning for a trip in the future and you want some quick info about the general climate of a place for a specific month or months. Once again, Ask.com is there for you with a Smart Answer. Simply search for climate in city or zip code and the info you need is right at the top of the results page for you. To find the info for another month, simply use the pull down box and select the desired month or specify within your search the average temperature for Paris, France in the Spring or weather in Rome in October. For the case of a search like Climate Paris, you can always "get more local" by entering the state abbreviation to find climate info for climate Paris, TX or Paris, IL climate.

Almost forgot, boaters and surfers will be interested to learn that Ask.com Smart Answers also offers some basic marine weather. For example, search for boating or surf conditions and of course a city name or Zip Code and if available the info you need is conveniently posted at the top of the results page. For example: Surf Conditions San Francisco or Boating Conditions Annapolis.

Of course we have tools like ski reports, but with schools letting out - we definitely have summer on the brain. Check these out and let us know what you think.

PS. With today's date being 6-6-06, we couldn't resist showing you that you can also use Ask.com Smart Answers to find the weather in Hell. : )

Scott Grieder
Gary Price

Ask.com Smart Answer Geeks

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June 01, 2006

There's Blogs (and Feeds!) In Our Search!

Blog Search on Ask.com

If you’ve spent any time in the candy aisle you are probably familiar with one of the best mash-ups in history: combining chocolate and peanut butter to get “two great tastes that taste great together"... the peanut butter cup.

Here at Ask we’ve been enjoying two great flavors separately for a while: blogs and search. Our blog connoisseurs are the Bloglines team, who have created the Web’s most popular RSS feed reader. Meanwhile, our search aficionados are the Ask Search Technology team, proprietors of ExpertRank and many cool derivatives thereof.

Well, it's finally time for a tasty collision: introducing Blog & Feed Search, which combines the rich data of Bloglines and the search technology of Ask.com. Like peanut butter and chocolate, Bloglines and Ask Search Technology compliment each other to solve some key challenges in building a great blog search engine: finding rich, diverse, and timely information published every minute on the blogosphere, without getting overwhelmed with a ton of low quality content.

ask.com homepage search toolbox

On Ask.com, you'll find the new service under the Blogs & Feeds link in the Toolbox on our homepage. Enter terms to find a wealth of information and options for getting the best of the blogosphere, including:

key Ask.com blog search features

* World-Class Results: The result of mixing ExpertRank and Bloglines data.
* Three Flavors of Relevance: Search by Date, Popularity, or Relevance (a combination   of the first two)
* Three Sorting Options: Sort by Posts, Feeds or News
* Unique Tools: Including Binoculars to preview the last 5 posts from a feed
* Open Subscription Options: Subscribe to a feed in Bloglines, Google Reader, MyYahoo, or Newsgator
* Open Posting Options: Post a link to Bloglines, Del.icio.us, Newsvine or Digg
* And more....

Meanwhile, over on Bloglines, in addition to the features on Ask.com, we've concocted some specifically for Bloglines searchers, including:

Bloglines search options

* In-line Previews: See an entire feed, including pictures and videos, directly from the results page
* More search options: Including search citations, search within your subscriptions and even Search Outside of your subscriptions
* More Info: See how many subscribers and citations a feed or post have
* And more.....

Blogs are the fastest growing source of content on the Web, and we hope our new product helps both Ask and Bloglines users to discover and manage this information more quickly than before.

Give it a try and please let us know what you think!

Ryan Massie
Kaushal Kurapati

Ask.com Product Management

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Opinions expressed here and in any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors, not of IAC Search & Media and may not have been reviewed in advance.

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