AskCity is a comprehensive local search tool and after taking it out for a spin this morning I have to say it's pretty good. You can see a sample of a business look up above (and no, the little Ask Jeeves butler won't run out and fetch a Tommy's burger for you while you wait in the car).
Om Malik interviewed Ask CEO Jim Lanzone about the service over at GigaOm.
"AskCity is a new local search application from Ask.com. It has been under development for the better part of 2006. AskCity is available for all US cities, though the content is deepest in the top 50 markets. We plan to take the product international in 2007."
"User reviews are already incorporated into AskCity via Citysearch, Yelp, JudysBook, InsiderPages, OpenTable, ServiceMagic and others. There are photos for some businesses."
The layout of your business searches are very clean with all of the most useful information, address, phone number, geotags and a photo if they have one.
The service also utilizes some of IAC's other web properties to pull in user reviews, ratings info etc. Ask already had a pretty good city search service with CitySearch, but AskCity has a cleaner layout and seems more search focused.
Local search is one of the most lucrative areas of search because it often translates to business for the local businesses featured and there are ways to monetize this traffic. Yahoo! (YHOO), Microsoft (MSFT) and Google (GOOG) are all very interested in this traffic.
Like Yahoo!, Ask has a lot of interesting internet properties in it's line up. Figuring out how to make a big basket of interesting content properties tie together to promote search is a skill. AskCity seems to do a pretty good job at it.