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February 21, 2008

Better Binoculars

Ever been caught in a loop of back-and-forth clicking between the search result list and the linked result pages looking for that perfect site? That's where our Binoculars come in handy; they give you a peek at those sites before you open them. Just roll your mouse over the icon and - there it is. Saved clicks, saved time, everybody's happy.

Initially launched in 2004, Binoculars help people find what they are looking for faster. As part of our Ask3D redesign, in June 2007 we improved them - added bigger previews, increased coverage and dramatically shortened update cycles. We also added information about the site you're previewing, giving you site download time, whether or not a site is Flash-based, and even how many pop-ups the site delivers.

Many of you told us that you'd like to know even more about the search results. Knowing how popular a site is, for example, can give an idea of its influence and trustworthiness or it may be helpful in various types of research. Turns out Binoculars are the perfect tool for this kind of information. It keeps the result page uncluttered for the casual searcher, yet provides deeper insight for those who need it.

So we arranged a feed from Compete.com to enhance our Binoculars system. Compete is doing a great job pulling together data from various sources to compile ongoing web statistics for a huge number of websites. For the inquiring minds among you, this data is now available directly on our search results. Let's take a closer look.

Since it's winter and I love skiing, I searched for my favorite ski resort. When you roll over the Binocular icon of the top result, you will at first see the familiar preview:


At the lower portion of the preview, you can see the combined size of all elements on the page and how long it will take to download it on a still-common 56K modem connection. It will also show you whether the site requires the Flash plugin or whether it serves pop-ups:


So far nothing new, but look at the top and you'll now notice tabs. Let's click on Statistics:


At one glance you can see the visitor trend for the site. Looks like skiing is indeed more popular in the winter, who would've thought? On the bottom, you get the most recent estimated visitors count in numbers, here about 44,000, and the site's rank. In this example, Kirkwood.com was the 39,768th most-visited site on the web in Jan '08 according to Compete. If you want to know even more, such as yearly trends or pageviews per visit, click on "View detailed report" and we will take you to the full profile on Compete.com

BTW, the Binoculars bubble scales with the size of your browser window. If the graph or preview is too small, try enlarging your browser. If you can't, maybe it's time for that new screen?

Sven Rossbach
Product Mananger

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February 01, 2008

Ask.com to Host Opening Event of the Israel Web Tour in Silicon Valley


Having grown up in Israel, I've always been connected to the country's tech community. That's one of the reasons I started writing about Israeli start ups since 2005 on my blog, VC Café.  Now, I am pleased to announce that Ask.com has been selected to host the opening meeting of next week's Israel Web Tour.

The Web Tour brings 15 selected Israel-based technology start ups to the Silicon Valley for a week-long series of presentations and meetings with some of the Silicon Valley's top web companies and VCs. Organized by the California Israel Chamber of Commerce (CICC), this is the event's second installment.

The Web Tour kicks off at our Campbell office with a working lunch discussion focusing on Search Innovation. Ask.com's SVP of Product Management, Doug Leeds, will showcase Ask's products and technology, covering trends in the fast-moving Search space. In addition, VP of Corporate Development, Manoj Verma will discuss how startups can work with Ask.com and IAC.

Congratulations to the 15 companies chosen to participate in this year's Web Tour:

Until next time, Shalom!

Eze Vidra

Product Manager

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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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