An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

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November 29, 2006

The Failure of Google Answers

Google Answers, the service where you could ask questions in exchange of a sum of money, is now officially dead. "We considered many factors in reaching this difficult decision, and ultimately decided that the Answers community's limited size and other product considerations made it more effective for us to focus our efforts on other ways to help our users find information."

The problem? While Google Answers is almost invisible, Yahoo Answers is a big success, produces results for many search results page and has a big community. The big difference between the two services is that Yahoo Answers doesn't involve money: no one pays or gets paid. But, as I showed in Asking the Internet, "while Google's researchers give more detailed answers, Yahoo uses the advantage of having a strong community" and sorts the good answers.

So what happened to Google Answers? Let's see what Google Answers experts have to say:

"The quality of GA has become diluted with spam questions that are conceivably attempts from credit card thieves to verify the validity of stolen credit card numbers, webmasters realizing that a mention of their website in a GA question may boost their ranking in the search results (although this may have been resolved), and the disappearance of researchers."

"It would be nice to think that G-A has itself reduced the demand for search assistance by demonstrating how to search and how to use search features that are not immediately obvious to the layman/woman). But it could be that people have just become more savvy to the system by themselves."

"I think a big problem is that there is no obvious link to GA anymore from Google's homepage."

"Maybe it has something to do with the fact that they're not accepting new researchers? I answered two questions (correctly, I might add -- one $5 and one $20) before I realized that I had to be a "researcher" in order to submit an actual answer (as opposed to a comment) and get paid for it."

The problem seem to be that people don't want to pay some experts to get detailed answers, they just want simple answers from the man on the street. People don't have time to read books, newspapers with a lot of pages and long articles, but they're eager to watch reality shows. Listening people as clueless as you gives you a comforting feeling.

This blog is not affiliated with Google.