A good sign: Google drops its Answers project

Summary:Google has dropped its Google Answers experiment and it's a positive development. Why?

Google has dropped its Google Answers experiment and it's a positive development.

Why? It shows the company can cut its losses on a project that may not be delivering--a critical skill for all companies. Cutting losses is a cog in solid project management.

For a company like Google that has numerous experiments running at once the ability to cut losses is critical. If Google doesn't it gets spread too thin and distracted.  As SearchEngine Watch notes, Google appears to be admitting defeat to Yahoo Answers. But is failure really so bad? Failure--even if it is a high-profile one--isn't a bad thing as long as you acknowledge it, learn and move on. After all, Google Answers had little chance given Yahoo put its weight behind its Answers service. Donna Bogatin details why Yahoo Answers routs Google's version.

"Google is a company fueled by innovation, which to us means trying lots of new things all the time -- and sometimes it means reconsidering our goals for a product," the company says on its corporate blog.

In other words, Google can refocus its efforts on winning projects.

Google says Google Answers "started with a rough idea from Larry Page, and a small 4-person team turned it into reality in less than 4 months. For two new grads, it was a crash course in building a scalable product, responding to customer requests, and discovering what questions are on people's minds."

In the end, Google says Google Answers was "a great experiment which provided us with a lot of material for developing future products to serve our users." In other words, don't be surprised if some part of Google Answers resurfaces elsewhere.

Topics: Google


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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