Ask.com gives up search for Q&A
Ask.com decided to give up on search. Even if the website will still offer a search box, the search technology will be outsourced, likely to Google with which the company has already a partnership (Yahoo! did the same with Bing).
The company nows wants to focus on its Q&A product that was launched last July. It already faces competition with websites like Yahoo! answers and Quora. This decision of giving up on search will lead to lay off 130 search engineers in New Jersey, USA and Hangzhou, China.
Search is a very competitive market
Launched in 1996 as Ask Jeeves, Ask.com was one of the most popular search engines. However, Ask.com only represents today 0.41% of all searches operated worldwide in 2010 (StatCounter), and 3.4% in the US (comScore).
As you can see in our post about search engine market share by country, players have huge difficulty to fight against Google and Yahoo! in many countries, China being an exception with Baidu leading the market.