You're about to discover more useful apps for your smartphone or tablet computer at Ask.com beginning Tuesday.
least that's the thinking behind a licensing agreement that Ask's
search engine has forged with Silicon Valley startup Quixey, which has
spent the past three years refining a technology to analyze the services
offered through millions of applications designed for iPhones, iPads,
Android gadgets, Windows devices and BlackBerrys.
Quixey's database will now appear among the answers that Ask delivers to
questions posed on its search engine. The apps results primarily will
be featured in a new section of Ask that is scheduled to debut at 8 p.m.
In some cases, though, an app might appear in the
main results, even when a request isn't explicitly seeking a mobile
application. For instance, someone looking for good places to take a
hike might see an app for locating trails listed among the results. Or a
query for the television series "30 Rock" may highlight apps from
Netflix or Hulu that offer entire episodes instead of just listing Web
links with information about the show.
Ask's addition of an apps
section is another example of the accelerating shift from personal
computers to mobile devices, a move that is reshaping the way people
interact with technology. The evolution will force general-purpose
search engines to change their ways or risk becoming less relevant,
predicts Quixey founder and CEO Tomer Kagan.
"Search is no longer
about just reading documents," Kagan said. "It's about finding the
technology to help us with what we are trying to do."
is owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp is hoping the new apps feature can lure
some traffic away from the Internet's much larger search engines.
it processes more than a half billion requests each month in the U.S.
alone, Ask remains a distant fourth among search engines with a market
share of about 3 percent, according to the latest data from the research
firm comScore Inc. Google Inc. runs the dominant search engine with
nearly 67 percent share of the U.S. market, followed by Microsoft
Corp.'s Bing at 16 percent and Yahoo at 12 percent.
gateways to some of the most top-notch digital content out there, so
this integration fits perfectly with where our product is headed," said
Shane McGilloway, Ask's chief operating officer.
The Ask alliance
represents the largest licensing deal so far for Quixey, which has
raised about $24 million since its inception in October 2009. The
company currently employs about 50 people at its Mountain View, Calif.
headquarters. Quixey's technology is also available on its own website
and through a few other partners. It is also featured in the Skyfire
browser that's included on some of the mobile phones sold by AT&T
People already conduct regular searches for apps, usually
within the individual stores set up for each of the major operating
systems that power mobile devices.
The database that Quixey is
licensing to Ask is meant to serve as a one-stop shop to find any app
available on any operating system. Kagan believes Quixey is better
equipped to point out apps that pertain to general search requests
because its technology analyzes the tasks programs perform instead of
just relying on the words contained in brief descriptions of the
"We are trying to show you an app that answers your question, not just an app that matches a word in your request," Kagan said.