All the heavy news about Google isn't getting Ask.com down in the mouth. Their CEO may not be joining a big company board, and they may not be releasing online services to compete with Microsoft Live. Still, they're all smiles.
Starting today, Ask.com will return a definition when you enter an emoticon in the search box. You can now search for :) :p or any combination thereof. You can also search for acronym definitions, such as LOL, BRB, and ROTFLMAO. So next time you're talking to an overzealous and over-caffeinated PR rep, just go to Ask.com to figure out what the hell she's saying. (You can't define emoticons with Google, even with their "define:" operator, one of my favorites.)
Ask.com has had some gains recently, according to ComScore, and they're currently the #4 search engine with about 5.4% of all queries. That's a gain relative to their competitors, but still below their 2005 numbers.
Also: Check out Phil's new acronyms at Google Blogoscoped.