Ask.com CEO talks future strategy: SES

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SAN JOSE, CAáû Ask.com CEO Jim Lanzone talked with Search Engine Strategies conference co-chair Chris Sherman about his company's challenges in the search engine marketplace.

Since Lanzone came to Ask back in 2001, the company has made what he called "radical" changes to improve searcher experience. Among these changes is the recent launch of its Ask3D interface, which some claimed was a direct attempt to challenge Google's grip on the search market.

"There are never headlines claiming we are trying to better the user experience," Lanzone complained. "Trust me when I say we don't have meetings aimed at figuring out how to do better than Google."

In fact, Ask is one of Google's partners, Lanzone said. It has been using Google's ad network since 2002.

The company also debuted AskCity, the company's local search tool. It allows users to both search and sift through results as well as dig deeper and beyond the search results.

"We saw the need for additional context," Lanzone said. "It is all about the right information, in the right place, at the right time."

Sherman spoke about the recent hysteria over privacy and how Ask Eraser alleviates users' concerns.

Ask Eraser assures users that their personal information is not being tracked. Users have to opt-in to having personalized information on Ask.

"We basically are taking the whole issue off the table if it's that important to the user," Lanzone said.

Recently, Ask has been putting a lot of resources into mobile search. Users are mobile savvy and most have devices capable of Web surfing. Lazone does not feel that mobile is strictly about local either.

"I think it is very much about wanting to know Jeter's batting average at dinner and getting that information right then and there," he told attendees.

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