This doesn't have anything to do with local per se, but Ask.com is supposed to being helping make IAC a local powerhouse (together with Citysearch). I'm reminded by this that I need to catch up with them on a range of fronts. But the new image search is a nice presentation.
According to the recent Keynote Systems research on search user satisfaction, image search is playing a more significant role in the overall search picture (so to speak):
Image search appears to have caught on quite quickly with consumers, with 63% of Yahoo! users and 56% of Google users turning to the image search areas of those sites when searching for an image. There is less awareness and usage of the local search tabs, with just 28% of Google users and 39% of Yahoo! users in the study turning to the local search function when conducting a local search although there is great appreciation for Google's integrated local search results. There is significantly less consumer demand for the special product search functionality on all leading sites.
As competitive as Ask's functionality and search results are, the engine has struggled to differentiate itself and gain share. However, according to comScore, between November 2004 and 2005, Ask gained 1% market share:
- Google: 34.6%
- Yahoo!: 32%
- MSN: 16%
- AOL: 9.1%
- Ask: 5.5%
- Google: 39.8%
- Yahoo!: 29.5%
- MSN: 14.2%
- AOL: 8.7%
- Ask: 6.5% (+1%)
At 5+ billion monthly searches that's not insignificant. Still, if Ask is going to further break out it will have to do some fairly radical things to draw users away from the top three.
Here's more from Loren Baker at Search Engine Journal.