Life without Google Day 1: The Ask experiment

Summary:Has Google become so ingrained in our lives that we can't live without it? There's only one way to find out: Stop using Google for a few weeks.

Has Google become so ingrained in our lives that we can't live without it? There's only one way to find out: Stop using Google for a few weeks.

While you can stop the Google you can't stop the Web searching. Hence my experiment to swear off Google and try other search engines.

The first day of this experiment led to some frustration--I actually had to use the yellow pages and the city search on Ask.com seems disconnected to the rest of the results. Meanwhile, I miss that Street View thing that freaks me out so much.

But there are enough new features to keep me trying Ask.com for a couple days (see the gallery at right). It may even grab a few points of market share if it can convince people to take it for a spin on a regular basis.

Here are a few thoughts on Ask.com and its redesign. More detailed views are available in the gallery above.

Being able to save a Web page is a nice touch.

The recommendations are helpful and encourage discovery--something that's sort of old school for me. Typically, I know exactly what I'm looking for and expect it quickly.

Results in Ask.com are presented in a nice format, but often I was led astray or given results that didn't quite add up. It wasn't the end of the world, but it wasn't Google either.

Search results from various content types--images, blogs and local could be integrated better. A few times I wound up at Ask City and felt like I was off the Ask3D approach.

Overall, I could survive with Ask.com as my search and maybe even thrive. On Day 1 though I'm missing Google. I'm sure it'll get easier.

Another stray thought: Would results improve dramatically with more search engine optimization from content players? Seems like a circular argument, but it seems to be that results may be better on Google since everyone is trying to be seen on it. Ask.com, with its lower market share, may not be on the radar for the SEO types.

Next up I think I'll try one of Microsoft's searches. I'm sure it'll be one of those murky, poorly defined "Live" ones.

Topics: Google

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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