Last week, Yahoo! launched a service that lets people ask any kind of question online and get it answered by another person for free. The new service is called “Yahoo! Answers“, and instead of relying on search engine algorithms to find the information you are looking for, your question gets answered by volunteers. You might get more than just one answer and are able to rate the answers you get based on quality.
For Yahoo!, this is an expansion of their community based services. Instead of sharing photos like you can do on Flickr, Yahoo! Answers is about sharing information. Based on the quality of answers, the service allows users to emerge as knowledge experts if they provide consistently good answers.
The concept of humans answering questions online is in no way new. Google offers a similar service called “Google Answers”, but Google’s service is fee-based and relies on a group of approved researchers, not the general public for answers.
This is not completely ground-breaking stuff but an interesting addition to Yahoo!’s community tools – and if you need a five minute break from work, go and check out some of the questions and answers that have been posted so far. There’s some weird and wonderful (and some very interesting) stuff there!