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December 13, 2007

Google Answers to Relaunch as Google Q&A

Google intends to relaunch the question-answering service Google Answers, which was closed last year. In Google Answers, "users could post a question (...) and specify how much they were willing to pay for an answer. A researcher then searched for the information they wanted and posted it to Google Answers." Some of the former Google Answers researchers built a similar service at

Google Q&A, code-named Confucius, no longer has paid experts and works in a similar way with Yahoo Answers. Google Q&A was launched in Russia in June and in China, two months later.

Here's a message from Google's translation console:

"Q&A - This message is a name of successor for Google Answers. We will use it in OneGoogle toolbar, which you see on top of page in the more.. section. Also, please use full name to translate it. That is, Questions and Answers. Abbreviation should be used only for English. URL showing this message: toolbar on top of"

It's interesting to note that Google Q&A is also the name of a feature that displays answers to simple questions at the top of Google's search results page. Maybe Google will combine the facts automatically extracted from web pages with the explicit answers from the new service.


  1. Yahoo Answers is already popular. and i think it has 98% of market share. and its very good also..

    Why is google investing in something which is already lost to yahoo..

  2. To the previous anonymous: why should Google exist if the search market was already dominated (>90%) by Altavista when Google was launched ;)

  3. exactly.......I agree with the second opinion. Google will surely try to learn from its failures. However Yahoo answers are really good compared t other yahoo services.

  4. Yahoo! Answers is garbage. It's filled with clueless people who can't figure out how to search on Google and Yahoo asking dumb questions and stupid people racking up points for responding with "I don't know."

    If Google can (a) instantly provide search results as potential answers and (b) display highly rated human responses with its search results, it'll have something far more useful than Yahoo! Answers.

  5. I still miss old Google Answers' paid-answers style of doing business. There's nothing quite like paying $10 for someone to essentially write a comprehensive article on a specific subject of your choosing.

    The quality of answers on Yahoo Answers also points to this; while sometimes the answers are sufficient to answer the posed question, they almost never approach the quality of a $5 answer found on Google Answers.

    I think they just did the marketing wrong on Google Answers. Few people really knew about it, and answered questions rarely or never showed up in normal Google web search results.

    Furthermore the Google Answers pay scale left something to be desired: paying $20 would get you a better answer than $10 would, but just how much better was undefined. A pay scale with guaranteed $/words or # of sources might have worked better here.

  6. I agree with joelpt. I never even had a chance to try the original Google Answers out.

    I question how comprehensive this new Google Answers will turn out to be...hopefully it would not be spammed with "How do I find someone on MySpace?" or "Where can I buy drugs in ...?" types of inquiries. Dumb things happen when the price bar goes to 0.

    I wish you luck Google developers! You may need it...

  7. joelpt: if you like the old paid-answers model, then as Ionut says this is still available from dozens of former Google Answers Researchers at (I'm one of them).

    I think you'll find that the "flavor" of the Uclue questions and answers is quite similar to the old GA model (although the number of questions is very much less).

    You might also find the Ask Metafilter and Wikipedia Reference Desk are also much more useful than Yahoo Answers.

  8. For those who think Yahoo! Answers is anything but an unmoderated forum, here are a couple for you:

    "A Librarian's Worst Nightmare"

    The running mockery of Yahoo! Answers on Fark:
    "Yahoo Answers: where 120 million users can be wrong nearly all of the time, often with hilarious results"

  9. For those that think Yahoo! Answers is anything more than an unmoderated forum here are a pair of resources:

    Slate Magazine
    "A Librarian's Worst Nightmare"

    And the running mockery of Yahoo! Answers on Fark:
    "Yahoo Answers: where 120 million users can be wrong nearly all of the time, often with hilarious results"

  10. If you want to know the reason why Yahoo Answers fails, just Google search for "How is babby formed?"

  11. I don't speak Russian, but it looks an awful lot like Google Q&A is the AAI system I drafted and sent to Google Labs' suggestion box in 2005... I'm sure Google will credit me for my work if it is, but maybe I should get a really good lawyer, just in case.

  12. Yahoo Answers has maybe 60% of the market, but WikiAnswers is actually on target to pass Yahoo somewhere around the next few months if it keeps up its current rate of growth.

    Although the answers take a little longer to get answered the Wiki concept is the ideal way to go for Q&A as Answers can be edited and improve over time.

  13. At the second anonymous..

    Google could topple altavista.. it was mainly because of the quality of search.. google started providing high quality results and everyone shifted to that..

    Dont think google is successful at all its products..
    Finance - yahoo is the leader
    froogle/products search
    google bookmarks - again yahoo's delicious is the leader..

    There are places where google has not done well and there are places where yahoo has not done well

    yahoo has done extremely well in answers and its not easy for anyone to compete with that

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Why don't you think that Google could topple Yahoo by providing a better way of providing answers, just as it toppled altavista by providing high quality search results?

    I choose Google products over Yahoo products, because I prefer a fast service, efficient service and no annoying unrelated ads. Other than that the mistakes Yahoo has done in it's product, will not be there in the Google's version.

  16. AnsMart.coom - a new paid answer site...check it out!

  17. Google answer was a much better product than the rest of the sites.

  18. Something makes no sense here.

    Google said Q&A was a follow on to Answers.

    But Answers was human research oriented.

    Q&A, as I can figure out what it is from the Google Web Search Features page , where you can enter a Q&A query, is something invisible that works out of the Google home page search box. Q&A looks like query interpretation system that looks for questions in the query for automated answers. It looks like some kind of natural langauge processing sytem from times past. It looks completely different from answers, automated vs. human.

    It also looks like it creates a new problem. From time immemorial, everyone has understood that you don't ask questions in Google. You state what you think is in what you seek. But now, with Q&A, are now questions a new way to enter searches to get it to work for you?