After preparing the ground for about a year, the new Q&A service from Ask.com is about to hit the web on July 29th, Business Insider reports. The grandfather of all Q&A services, Ask.com has slowly built its infrastructure, preparing resources and users for this moment right here, growing momentum and the industry experts' curiosity.
Through a post on their blog on July 26th, a company's representative announced the Beta launch of the still un-named Q&A service (Beta invites are available here). After making a name for themselves in 1996 for askjeeves.com (now ask.com), a renowned Q&A service at that time, the company is going back to its roots after failing to dethrone Google (or Yahoo, or Bing for that matter) as the main search engine on the web.
After Doug Leeds, President of Ask.com, let information about the company's future hit the news stands last November, the company has been slowly and steadily preparing the interface and users for the changes to come.
Previous to this point, the company launched a brand new home page back in March 2010, introducing later a “Question of the day” section on the search engine's main page.
Along with these, on July 29th, the new Q&A service will introduce some extra new features as well. They include a new proprietary semantic search technology, a new look and feel easing the way people access information, a new logo and color palette. The company has also been experimenting with something they call “a human element,” where they re-route questions “to relevant people based on interests and expertise.”
Ask.com is currently flaunting a figure of 500 million answered questions in its index, which doesn't sound bad at all for a service still in closed Beta.
As for the industry's reaction, due to its previous experience in this field, everyone is expecting Ask.com to get a serious pie of the Q&A market from Quora, Google's Aardvark or Yahoo Answers. Generally, as even Tony Gentile, Ask.com's Senior Vice-President for Product Management told a reporter form ReadWriteWeb, even the users still regard Ask.com as a Q&A tool, even if the company is mainly seeing itself as a search engine. So in the end, there's nothing to loose in this endeavor for Ask.com.