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Ask.com Intros Mobile Search

Ask.com wants to extend its growth to the mobile search market.

Today, the wholly owned business of IAC/InterActiveCorp introduced Ask Mobile, a new service for searching the Web from mobile devices.

Ask announced the new product at DigitalLife, a consumer event in New York City.

According to a statement, the product's key differentiators are features that save the user time and keystrokes.

It's a typical claim for mobile search providers. But search engines don't typically remove search boxes in an effort to support it.

In a statement, vice president of product management Doug Leeds said eliminating the one-size-fits-all search box from the mobile search home page brought users to the results they needed faster and more efficiently.

Ask Mobile's search categories include Web Search, Directions, Images, Business Listings, Maps, Weather, Bloglines, Area Codes, Currency Conversion, Horoscope and Time Zones. Additional services, such as sport scores and movie times, will follow the initial rollout.

Ask.com's proprietary ExpertRank algorithmic search technology powers the mobile search, as with the ordinary Web search. It's supposed to bring "authoritative sites" to the top of search results rather than simply the most linked-to sites.

Ask Mobile Search also features "Instinctive Search Tools" that work much like Google's one-box search results.

For example, searching under directions for "94114 & 94607" brings up List or Turn-by-Turn options, Satellite or Aerial views and Send to Phone.

Mobile search is Ask's latest effort to take market share from search leaders Google and Yahoo.

Google dominated the search market again in September with a 50.2 percent share of all searches, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. Yahoo came in second with 24 percent, and Ask.com finished fifth with 2.3 percent.

But, as Ask's television commercials attest, the company matched Google's year-over-year growth at 30 percent.

Both Google and Yahoo already have mobile search platforms. And each have already begun testing sponsored results to monetize the products.