"The project started with a rough idea from Larry Page, and a small 4-person team turned it into reality in less than 4 months." And that happened 4 years ago, in April 2002. Here's an explanation for launching the product, from that time:
There are a lot of people looking for information on the web but don't have the time to find the information," said Cindy McCaffrey, Google's Vice President, Corporate Marketing. "This program takes the burden of time away." McCaffrey also said the program should appeal to people who don't understand how to search, and would prefer to delegate the process to a professional.
So why shutting down Google Answers?
Over the past year, many of you have written to ask about the future of Google Answers. Today we can finally offer a definitive response: after four and a half years, we're closing up shop. 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 other efforts are:
* Google Co-op, that wants to annotate the web with the help of experts. Labels let you refine the search results and deal with a smaller set of authoritative sites.
* Google Q&A tries to crawl the web looking for facts like the population of Italy or the birthplace of George W. Bush. You can improve the service by adding your own facts using Subscribed Links.
* Google Base enables people to submit structured content and make it searchable online. Google also try to extract structured data from the web automatically.
Extraction of information from authoritative sites and building a huge database of connected information - this might the base of a new Google Answers.
The next step in search