Walt Mossberg likes Ask.com, says John Battelle.
Here's the first test I use to decide whether a search engine (that is relevancy based like Google, Yahoo, MSN, or Ask) deserves praise over Google: put in my last name and see if it ranks that properly. Why does that matter? Cause I have thousands of inbound links.
Ask does not measure up in this test (it still has my old blog at top of the page) and I can't find my new blog anywhere on the first page of Ask.com. Google almost gets it right (my old blog is #1, but my new blog is #2).
"You're an egotistical bahstahard," I can hear some of you saying.
Believe it or not, but this test seems to match other relevancy tests I've done. Try it yourself and see how you come out.
But, even worse, if a search engine can't get my name correct (there aren't many Scobles publishing on the Web) how can you expect it to get your searches correct?
By the way, I've been doing this ego search for more than seven years and this is the first time that Google has lost this battle and that MSN has won it.
Is MSN's relevancy getting better? Yes. Is Google vulnerable? Well, I won't go that far, but my ego search is one of the reasons I've been a Google advocate for so long (it was dramatically better than AltaVista and Yahoo in this search in the late 1990s).
But, Walt, this doesn't portend good things for Ask.com. To be included in the top three you've gotta be as good as Google. Ask isn't even in the same neighborhood yet.