Internet search engine Ask.com has been chasing market leader Google Inc. for years without making much headway, but that hasn't deterred its engineers from trying to set the pace for innovation. Now, the company is unveiling a notable change that could make it easier for students, researchers, and other web users to find what they're looking for online.

In its latest advance, Ask.com on June 5 introduced a more dynamic way of displaying some, primarily consumer-oriented search results. For such searches, the Oakland-based company is sorting its results into three vertical panels spread across the computer screen, instead of piling

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