Yahoo Answers, not Google

Google can't answer its own question: How can Google Answers 'work'? Yahoo may have the answer!
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor

Google can't answer its own question: How can Google Answers "work"?

The Official Google Blog announces that Google Answers is officially over; The pet project of Larry Page is being unplugged by Google.

In typical Google Speak fashion, however, a product "failure" is a Google, and world, success: 

Google Answers taught us exactly how many tyrannosaurs are in a gallon of gasoline, why flies survive a good microwaving, and why you really shouldn't drink water emitted by your air conditioner. Even closer to home, we learned one afternoon that our building might be on fire.
The people who participated in Google Answers -- more than 800 of them over the years -- are a passionate group committed to helping people find the information they need, and we applaud them for sharing their incredible knowledge with everyone who wrote in.

Why then no more Google Answers? No answer from Google:

Google Answers was a great experiment which provided us with a lot of material for developing future products to serve our users. We'll continue to look for new ways to improve the search experience and to connect people to the information they want.

Perhaps we should ask Yahoo, Yahoo Answers, that is.

In "Yahoo Answers 120 milion times: "Sruggling"?" I underscore Yahoo's traction and cite CEO Terry Semel on how Yahoo Answers supports its social media strategy:

Yahoo Answers, which we developed internally, is alone as a standalone, one of the largest communities and social media on the web. Answers surpassed 60 million unique users — monthly users — and 120 million answers worldwide just 10 months after it launched, and is now available in 18 countries and nine languages.

Together, Yahoo Answers, del.icio.us, Flickr, and Yahoo! Video have a total of almost 100 million users, which makes us the leading force in social media today. Importantly, and boy have I read about this, within this group is the largest community of the prized 15- to 24-year old youth demographic on the web, which stands at Yahoo at approximately 30 million.

We are incredibly focused on making every part of Yahoo a more social experience. We are convinced that the social media space will continue to grow and evolve and we plan to be a key player in this business.


Yahoo announced just last week enhancements to its answers integration in Yahoo search results, "we have been integrating knowledge from the Yahoo! Answers community into search to enhance your search experience":

the new section features an excerpt of the best answers to questions that are relevant to your search. The excerpt gives you a more detailed preview of the content from the Answers community before you click through. In this example for "best hybrid cars" you actually get a whole lot of information - one best answer cites the breadth of hybrids to choose from, another user mentions he's heard good things about the Prius, and another discusses the potentially lower maintenance of hybrids.

So if you're looking for personal experiences with tennis camps, finding places off the beaten path, or researching the best hybrid car, you'll now have an extra option on Yahoo Search (scroll down the results to see them).

Yahoo also uses Answers for high profile promotions, the latest features Oprah Winfrey:

If you were given $1,000 to change the life of a perfect stranger, what would you do?

That is the big question Oprah Winfrey asks over on Yahoo! Answers. Her visit coincides with the airing of one of Oprah's favorite challenges on her television show, where audience members get $1000 and a video camera to document how they choose to spend the money to help others. Meanwhile, the Yahoo! Answers community has responded with an outpouring of creativity and brotherliness – at the time of this post, there were more than 28,000 responses and rising fast, with people ruminating on spending the money locally versus sending the money overseas, where the effect could be greater.

Yahoo encourages:

Head over to the Yahoo Answers blog for the complete story, and don't forget to leave your own answer as well.

Yahoo has Answers, Google doesn't.

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