Ask.com has cut 40 jobs, including the beloved and talented Gary Price, in its reorganization and attempt to develop a new "strategy." You can read more in Gary's post on ResourceShelf, the Wall Street Journal article, the Reuters story, or a most interesting reaction from Search Engine Roundtable to new "strategy" of focusing their efforts on women over 30 and health and entertainment info. Can we say "tiny slice o' the market"? The sense in the search world in general is that this new direction (job cuts aside) is not a good one.
I am personally very disappointed, not only because I consider Gary a close friend and colleague, but because I rely on Ask.com for all of my searching. I teach it in my classes. I promote it on my blog when awesome features are introduced. The results are better, better-presented, and better-organized from a research standpoint - which is what library staff are usually using a search engine for. If it changes from what it is, and doesn't offer me what I need as an educational searcher, then I'll be in search of another engine to meet my needs. Let's wait and see what happens.
Please, Sarah, forgive me re-producing the whole of your post from earlier this month. In mitigation I offer the fact that it was the best one on this story which appeared in a lot of different places, including the ones you have provided links for above. It may not be a disaster but it sure feels like one to a large number of librarians and information managers!
I am personally not with Sarah on relying on Ask.com for all of my searching but that is because I am usually looking for something that I know exists e.g. the title of an article. When I'm researching something new then it's Ask.com, Yahoo! Answers or Exalead -- possibly all three and maybe others until I'm sure that I've got an answer to the question or, the more difficult issue, that an answer does not exist.