has been fourth place search engine since its inception. Google, Yahoo, and MSN Live all drive more traffic to websites like yours. Ask has made some interesting moves over the past year, and this latest move is no different. reports that will unveil its new privacy control today. This means that the terms you search for will be purged from Ask’s records within mere hours, compared to the industry standard of 13-18 months.

Google originally pitched the idea of data recording under the guise of personalized search. The concept states that a search engine that remembers what you’ve looked for and clicked on will be able to modify search results and deliver more accurate and relevant information to each user tracked. Some users think it’s a great idea. Others don’t want anyone knowing too much about their habits or interests.

This has been a year of major rebranding for They’ve ceased trying to compete with Google and Yahoo strictly on the basis of search results and have instead rebranded to be the Web 2.0-ish search engine with cool looking features and cross pollinated services. For users preferring a slick looking search experience, Ask is definitely the way to go. Still, their algorithm does not drive the most reliable results to your doorstep, making it still a subpar search experience.

With this new privacy control, individual consumers are the obvious target, as with the rest of’s marketing strategy. It’s not an industrial use search engine, but it can be a fun and enjoyable search engine. There’s definitely a market for fun and appealing, though I wouldn’t be shocked to see Google rebrand at some point in the next two years to totally obliterate’s current niche.