Google have recently announced they will be shutting down their answers service by the end of this year. While the website will remain online, Google said it will not be accepting any new questions.
As Google have not given an official reason for the close, speculation seems to suggest the closure is a result of the dominance of Yahoo! Answers.
Source: Search Engine Watch
While both services aim to serve the same purpose, they go about it in very different ways. The Google service asks for a small fee in order to have your question answered by ’500 carefully screened researches’, while the Yahoo! variant relies on the community to answer users’ questions for free. The dominance of Yahoo! Answers seems to follow the online trend towards social networks,
“We didn’t set out to end Google Answers,” said Yahoo! spokeswoman Melissa Rische. “Yahoo saw an opportunity to build a community for users seeking knowledge, whereas Google’s effort was something different, more one-sided.”
Google Answers started as the pet project of Google founder Larry Page. Powered by a small 4 person team, the idea was turned into reality in less than four months.
“For two new grads, it was a crash course in building a scalable product, responding to customer requests, and discovering what questions are on people’s minds.”, said Andrew Fikes and Lexi Baugher, Google software engineers. “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.”
Will the Yahoo! service continue to dominate or will it in turn be surpassed by a different community-based answer service? If you have used either service, let us know what you think!