Shockingly (or maybe not) I'm behind on my blog reading again so I just noticed Sarah Houghton-Jan's Ten Reasons Librarians Should Use Ask.com Instead of Google today. Great list of great Ask.com features. I really try to steer my students to Ask.com in our Internet unit to see that there's something out there other than Google. They are usually impressed when they check it out. But most probably still revert to Google after class since "google" has become pretty synonymous with "web search". Actually, I think I might not let them use Google at all next semester.
One of Sarah's points was the image search, which is indeed excellent. I did a LI session last week (or something like that) for a class that has to do PowerPoint presentations on current events. I usually show this class an image search tool or two and they really dug the Ask.com version this time. Great results! They really liked the narrowing and expanding features in general too.
A couple of commenters mentioned the blog and feed search. Ask.com Blog and Feed Search rocks! Gives results for both posts, feeds and news along with quick links below each post or feed result to subscribe through most major aggregators. And gives links below each post result to Blogger, Bloglines, Digg, del.ic.ious etc. which makes it very easy to save information. There's also a save feature which puts results in a MyStuff folder in Ask. And you can subscribe to a blog search in RSS form through Bloglines or whatnot. It was a big hit when I presented a Lunch N Learn on blogs and RSS last week (see a trend emerging for lack of blog reading?).
Ask is really turning out to be a great alternative to Google. And a perfect opportunity for Jeeves retirement/ downsizing jokes in class!