Posted July 2, 2008 4:00 pm by with 8 comments

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First IAC took itself apart, now Ask is slowly dismantling its cool features, too. Chris Pendleton, a Virtual Earth evangelist, has posted that Ask has dropped its own mapping features—Ask Maps, AskCity and map results integrated into their SERPs—in favor of Live Virtual Earth (Microsoft’s maps product).

In some regions, the change is even more drastic. As Barry Schwartz reports, Ask UK’s map site is offline (and their title element is misspelled: “Unavailabe”?):

Dear Ask Maps user,

We are sorry, but our maps service is no longer available. Please re-enter your query in the search box above to use our main web search service.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. If you have any comments or questions about our service please contact us.

The Ask Team

Microsoft has long been touting their maps product (see Satya Nadella’s conversation at last year’s SMX Advanced), but it’s pretty sad to see Ask’s go—not because the narrowing of the field will irreparably harm the search sphere. It may not make much of a difference in the long run.

But Ask’s map products did have a few unique features that I, for one, am really sorry to see go (like walking directions—do you know how important those are for pedestrians in a city with thousands of one-way streets?! Yeah, they’re gone now.).

What do you think—will you miss Ask’s maps? Is this a step in the right direction for Ask?

  • PS3

    Bring back the good old days of Jeeves!

  • CP

    Walking directions is included in Virtual Earth, so you can expect to see it released as a feature of Ask Maps.


  • I suppose non-profit making endeavours will be eliminated or replaced by more cost effective offerings? Consolidation like this I find disconcerting myself, as I like to be able to choose from several offerings, and not being forced to use something else.

  • RIP Ask as they become another vertical. But I think Ask died a long time ago anyway.

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  • Who is even using Ask nowadays anyway? I agree with bringing back Jeeves!

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  • Ask is very old and hard to use.

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  • Jeeves was a name that branded itself very quickly in th UK, then it turned to a guy called Ask? well who is that? I say bring eeves back, and build on him.

  • Ducky

    Very sad to see this go. Although it looks like Google just added beta walking directions so there is an alternative.

    The feature I’ll miss the most is “Search in Neighborhood” which let you limit the business results to a certain district. It looks like the feature is still there, but it no longer highlights the district area in the map. It was a great way to learn about a new city.

    Plus City isn’t working in Safari right now. Not a good way to keep customers.