Ask.com, a subsidiary of IAC Corp. ( IACI), released a new version of its search engine that includes speed enhancements and relevance improvements.

The company said it made "significant advancements" in its core relevance versus this time last year, and has reduced the loading times for its site by 67% from a year earlier. The company said the "improved site latency has already had a positive impact on customer frequency and retention rates."

In an interview with Reuters, CEO Jim Safka said Ask.com could win customers with a search that is 30% faster than before. Early tests showed a 16% increase in the rate at which customers returned to use its new search page, he said.

Safka said if Ask.com increases the rate at which customers return to its site and attracts new users it will increase the advertising revenue it brings in, Reuters reports.

The company believes it can increase market share and revenue by taking advantage of the distractions of competitors such as Yahoo! ( YHOO) and Microsoft ( MSFT), which have spent most of the year in on-off merger talks, Reuters reports. Yahoo and Microsoft are No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, in U.S. search, behind Google ( GOOG).

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