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new ask.com

askjeeves.com has been rebranded ask.com. good riddance to that stupid butler, anyway. that was such a tired device right from the getgo. anyhoo, ask.com has a clean new interface, full of ajax-y goodness. a ‘tools’ bar sits on the right side of the screen, w/ the most commonly used tools, such as web search, image search, news, maps, weather, etc. they all load instantly w/o refreshing the page. the maps feature is actually quite good – all the features of google maps, including aerial and hybrid view, but w/ two additional niceties – walking directions and a play button. just like google, ask.com will number all the steps for the directions, but you can also hit ‘play’ which will highlight each of the numbered steps along the route. and while google also has walking directions in their beta of a public transportation version of google local/google maps (surely to be bundled into the live google local at some point, but currently only supporting portland, oregon), ask.com has walking directions now.

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