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August 22, 2008

Ask TV – a great search engine strategy unveiled at SES-San Jose!

Well, folks, it’s a wrap for SES San Jose this year. If you weren’t able to catch up with us this year at the event, there’s always next time!

Ask.com was on a few exciting panels this year, and it was great to catch up with all of our partners and other friends (hi Lisa!) and learn what new and cool innovations they are working on.

I had a spot on the Semantic Search panel Monday morning with Yahoo!, hakia, Powerset and Boo Rah and there was a lot of buzz in the air about what the future of Semantic Search will be, and how consumers will benefit from a semantic search experience on the web.

I spoke about Ask.com’s newest application of semantic search technology, searchable TV listings (which is still a work in progress, by the way). In case you missed it, I’d thought I’d take some time to fill you in.

Navigating TV listings in search of things like Olympic coverage can be a frustrating task. Not any more. With Ask.com it is now a real part of search. Straight from the Ask searchbox.

Our Ask TV listings uses our patent-pending technology DADS (Direct Answers from Databases) to answer queries and questions from structured data feeds and databases. DADS provides highly accurate answers to queries which are relevant to a given topic. Instead of using traditional keyword search algorithms, our technology can deliver much deeper, more precise search results based on understanding of a query meaning rather than syntactical text matching.

Ask TV answers queries ranging from "when is sports on tv this weekend" or "horror movies tonight" to "lindsay lohan on tv". Covering nearly 10,000 distinct stations and over 100,000 shows, our information is updated daily -- and it can be personalized and customized to any location and cable provider in the USA.

With deep content indexing, Ask TV can find content based on time within the next two weeks -- like today, this weekend, tomorrow night as well as name of actors, movies and sport events as well as types of programs such as comedies or horror movies.

Kinda cool, huh?

It doesn’t matter how you phrase your questions, because our DADs technology is able to understand what you are looking for (most of the time) no matter how you phrase your query. Check out these examples:

Is CSI on TV this Wednesday afternoon?


This Wednesday afternoon is CSI on TV?


In the afternoon this Wednesday is CSI on TV?


Ask TV isn’t just the ‘couch potato’s’ dream come true. It's Ask answering our users’ needs as they make key daily decisions…like, “How can I entertain the kids while I make dinner?" Gee, when is “Zach and Cody” on?  Hmm, let me check my Ask TV listings!  :)

Ask TV listings technology is a glimpse into what the future holds for Semantic search, and here at Ask, we’re always innovating and pioneering new technology on behalf of our customers. AskTV and DADs is just another example that carries on that tradition.

Erik Collier
VP, Product Management

P.S. – Oh, here’s something I didn’t get to say at SES: the good news is, watch this space here for news of many more structured data verticals to come live on Ask.com…it’s just gonna get better!

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