Ask.com Gives Up Pursuit of Google

Changing course, the search site will no longer try to catch up to the Internet giant

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For years, Ask.com has been trying to supplant Google as the Internet's search leader, but this week the company has announced that it is headed in another direction. In truth, Ask never really got all that close.

A recent market share study concluded that Ask commanded just 4.5 percent of the search audience, while Google rang in at 58.5 percent. Yahoo and Microsoft rank second and third, but the possible merger of those two companies would certainly present Google with a more formidable foe. Now, instead of trying to become the all-purpose search site of choice, Ask is going to focus on women. Specifically, married women in the South and Midwest. The site will key on helping that audience find details about subjects such as recipes, hobbies and health.