Search site Ask gets facelift

It dropped it's iconic butler at the beginning of 2006, and has since added new applications to its search website, but Ask has now opted for a complete rehaul in a bid to gain fans.

The team behind the search engine, which is up against the likes of Google, has redesigned its website.

Google currently dominates the UK search market with an 80% market share compared to 2% for Ask.

In the US, Google's share is 60% while Ask's share remains the same.

The focus for Ask users is the ability to be able to "ask" a direct question and get an answer, as opposed to entering simple search terms or words.

According to the Beeb, questions account for about 5% of queries to Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Live Search, but account for 15% of Ask's searches.

The new website will bring this tool more into the foreground, as well as being faster and produce more honed answers thanks to new search technology, claims Ask.

Design-wise, Ask admits it has echoed some of the features you see in Google.

Cesar Mascaraque, European managing director of Ask, told the BBC that, as a result, comparisons between the two search engines are inevitable.

"All cars have four wheels. No-one wants a car with one wheel", he said.

He also added that Ask has a loyal audience in 35-55-year-olds, and is not going to chase a younger web user, who is, most likely, using Google.

"The 20 year-old is never going to use us and, you know what, I don't care", he said.

The new site goes live in the US on 06 October and in the UK on 20 October.