Ask.com Launches AskCity

Tomorrow morning Ask.com will launch a local search service named AskCity:

Oakland, Calif., December 4, 2006 – Ask.com, a leading search destination and wholly-owned business of IAC/InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ: IACI), today introduced AskCity, a new local search service that integrates the best local information on the Web with a distinctive,
"all-in-one" user interface and intuitive search tools. A free service, the new AskCity is immediately available at http://city.ask.com, as well as via the Ask.com homepage Toolbox
(www.ask.com).

"Local is one of the top five categories in search, yet it’s the one with the lowest user satisfaction," said Jim Lanzone, CEO of Ask.com. "We’re raising the bar for local search by introducing a product that seamlessly combines the best content, technology and tools in one
place. We call that place AskCity."

AskCity will be available early tomorrow morning but I’ve been given early access. 

When you first login you have the normal map style interface which we all know and love.

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Now we’ll do a search for one of my favorite wifi coffee shops.

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Finds it without a problem.  Now I want to walk there so we’ll try and trick it by seeing if it asks us to go through the park (which isn’t the fastest way to drive).

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You can also annotate the resulting map and add labels and graphics:

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It can also do multipoint maps (which Google Maps can’t do either).  I’m going to walk to Coffee to the People and then drive to 4th and Market (the Apple Store in San Francisco).

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I like the fact that it uses a three column interface.  While this requires a lot of screen real-estate this means that AskCity will be easier to use by people with higher resolution displays (which are becoming more and more commonplace).

The "Take a Snapshot" feature is also pretty nice. You can save your maps for future reference.  Google Maps doesn’t have this feature and they’ve just now started to remember past searches.

I think I’m going to migrate from Google Maps to AskCity for a while.  I’ve been trying to give Yahoo and Ask a chance to win my search traffic and they seem to be doing a good job.

Of course Om Malik was faster than me (it’s his job afterall) so he has a long writeup and interview with Jim Lanzone.



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