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October 31, 2007

Introducing the New Ask Maps UK

Our goal: to get more people to use Ask UK's Maps service. Our solution: introduce a new version, with new features. Now, thanks to a joint effort across several Ask.com offices, we've succeeded in delivering an Ask Maps service well worth talking about, with features that we think will have you coming back for more.

Bringing the US Along for the Ride

When you work with teams that cross boundaries, it’s often little details that take the longest to get right. In the UK, when you come off a motorway, you call it a "junction;" in the US you call it an "exit." And when it comes to prioritizing landmarks like museums and other points of interest in our search results, we worked closely with our US development team to advise them as to the more popular UK sites.

In addition to the new features, we've extended Ask Maps to cover the UK and Ireland. So if you're planning an Autumn trip around the British Isles, make sure you give it a go.

Driving You Sane

You can give our new driving directions up to ten different destinations and it will plot a route between them.

Getting There On Foot

If you are more of the urban walking persuasion, try the walking directions. Just tell it where you want to go and it'll show you how to get from A to B.

(BTW, Google/Yahoo!/MSN Live Maps do not provide walking directions. Nice!)

Landmark Assistance

Our UK map plots not only streets, but several thousand points of interest. Ask UK Maps cover museums (try the National Gallery), historic buildings (go for the Tower of London), parks (a stroll in Regent's Park, perhaps?) and many others.

Tube Vision

If walking through London is wearing you out, take the underground! The tube stations are marked on our maps (they are the little red circles with a blue line across them).

Get a Birds-Eye Perspective With Aerial View

If you want to know what things look like before you even get there, use the satellite imagery. Just click on the "Aerial" link and zoom right in. If you like the picture a lot, you can even buy it! Just click on the "BuyPoster" link.

And remember, you can also bookmark a map view that you like, email it to a friend or print the driving directions. Click on the options on the top right-hand side of the map.

UK Maps, Smarter Than Ever

Now you can start your city searches right from the Ask UK home page. Type in the name of any major UK city on our web search, and you will get a Smart Answer with not only a link to the map, but a whole lot of other information, like links to local travel traffic information, tourist advice and virtual tour.

When you have a project team spread over four or five different geographical locations and several time zones--on a product with very specific local quirks--it's quite a challenge. But the team worked hard to make it happen, and on time too!

--Koji Kawano and Daniel Mermelstein
International Product Management
Ask UK

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October 02, 2007

Tricks, Treats, Diets and Hurricanes: October Smart Answers

October! It's time for Sukkot, Halloween, and the first tentpole holiday movies. Make sure your Sukkah-building and pumpkin-carving skills are up to par and your evening calendar is open! Let's see where Smart Answers take us this month:

Recently Added Smart Answers:

The Wonders of the World: What, did you think there were only seven of them? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, The Great Wall of China, and twelve, yes twelve, more. Use the drop-down menu to see them all.

Diets: What better way to counter your annual Halloween candy gluttony? Find health reviews of Atkins, South Beach, and many more, so you can find the one that's best for you.

Hurricane Dean: The low-down on the fourth big storm of the season.

New Movies: What do you need to know about Angels in the Dust, 3:10 to Yuma, Banished, Outsourced, The Rocket, and more of this season's best? Smart Answers will show you--and help you find screenings in your area.

Smart Answers for Important October Dates

10/1: Julie Andrews. but to me, she'll always be a cross-dressing Polish count.

10/4: Charlton Heston.

10/5: Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds.

10/11: "Saturday Night Live" premiers (with George Carlin as the guest host).

10/13: Lenny Bruce.

10/18: Chuck Berry.

10/20: Snoop Dogg.

10/21: Alfred Nobel.

10/23: Johnny Carson.

10/26: Hillary Rodham Clinton.

10/28: Bill Gates.

10/31: Halloween, of course!

More next month!

--The Ask.com Smart Answers Team

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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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