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Google Answers – Library Reference Cage Match

We win one battle (insert proper emoticon for irony here). Now let’s get to be the best. Yahoo Answers still going strong and Cha Cha coming up the side…
[Of course to win the battle we would have had to be fighting…]
Adieu to Google Answers
By A Googler
Posted by Andrew Fikes and Lexi Baugher, Software Engineers
Google is a company fueled by innovation, which to us means trying lots of new things all the time — and sometimes it means reconsidering our goals for a product. Later this week, we will stop accepting new questions in Google Answers, the very first project we worked on here. 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. 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.
Google Answers taught us exactly how many tyrannosaurs are in a gallon of gasoline, why flies survive a good microwaving, and why you really shouldn’t drink water emitted by your air conditioner. Even closer to home, we learned one afternoon that our building might be on fire.
The people who participated in Google Answers — more than 800 of them over the years — are a passionate group committed to helping people find the information they need, and we applaud them for sharing their incredible knowledge with everyone who wrote in.
If you have a chance, we encourage you to browse through the questions posted over the last 4+ years. Although we won’t be accepting any new questions, the existing Qs and As are available. We’ll stop accepting new Answers to questions by the end of the year.
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.

Posted on: November 29, 2006, 6:59 am Category: Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Looks to me like Google conceded this “answers” area to Yahoo. Search results on Yahoo are now starting to include results from their answers product. Regarding Google, I suspect their CSEs (custom search engines) are more of a threat to your company’s products. Or, are you building CSEs?

  2. I’m not so sure we’ve defeated Google in the human-mediated information game. We certainly put more resources into it, believe in it more, focus on it.
    I actually dreamed last night (really!) that Google came up with a version of Yahoo! Answers/Ask Metafilter/live qna/whatever that knocked all of their shoes and socks off.
    If there is money to be made in human-mediated information services, then it would be odd to see Google ignore it for good.
    It is also heartening yet terrifying to see Cha Cha post that their guides are paid $5-$10/hr. You get what you pay for, but is that what reference is worth?

  3. I think the triumphalism a tad misplaced. What killed Google was a *LESS* Librarian-like service. Google Answers had experts, annointed by Google. Yahoo beat it with regular people!