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Competition Improves Privacy, Finds MP3s

Not the freshest news in the world, but I found it interesting when I discovered today that that Ask.com offers a service called AskEraser which allows users to use its service anonymously. That's right, no longer do you have to be tracked by the Googleplex to search the net--the search isn't half-bad either for all but the most esoteric topics. Google has similar privacy features, but it's a bit harder to use it--and many other search engines--totally anonymously. Obviously Ask.com is adopting a strategy of differentiation, rather than head-on competition, to beat the monolith of Mountain View. In other search news, I was surprised to learn that AltaVista still exists (who has used this since 1998?) and I was even more surprised to learn that they offer a really cool search tool. Any search can bring up related MP3s if the "MP3/Audio" tab is clicked. It also brings up .ram and .ra files, but who would want to listen to those? This is yet another example of cool things happening in search that help to keep the search market competitive.