Ask Introduces Related Questions

This is a search engine I haven’t mentioned in a while. Ask announced yesterday Related Questions, where you can ask a question and get suggestions for additional questions which will help your research.

I started with Why is the sky blue? I got an answer at the top of the result page, but the related questions on the right were downright weird. They included “Why Is the World Going to End in 2012”, “Why Do Dogs Eat Grass” and “Do Spiders Have Good Eyesight”. Um, okay. I tried for something more obvious: When was Pearl Harbor? This time I got the answer at the top of the page and related questions that were more focused, like “When Was Pearl Harbor Bombed” and “What Year Was Pearl Harbor Built” There were related searches as well. Clicking on a related question gives you a result and another set of related searches and questions. (Confidential to Ask: You may wish to vet your related questions more; “Why Did the Japs Attack Pearl Harbor” contains an inappropriate pejorative.)

I tried to go a little further afield with the more general question How do you cure a cold? I had mixed results with this one. On one hand I got questions like “How Do You Get Rid of a Cold,” which is great, but then I got “How to Treat a Dog with a Cold” and the completely perplexing “How Do You Season a Cast Iron Skillet”. Um, what?

Related questions is most useful when you use very specific, targeted questions. Otherwise be prepared for a bit of surrealism…

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