free html hit counter Google Closes Answers, A People Driven Service | John Battelle's Search Blog

Google Closes Answers, A People Driven Service

By - November 29, 2006

Answers-Logo-Lg

From the Google Blog:

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.

The post eulogizes Google Answers, but doesn’t really explain why Google discontinued it….

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

12 thoughts on “Google Closes Answers, A People Driven Service

  1. Mike says:

    I think Yahoo took the lead on this one. And based on those meager stats (800 google answer participants — that’s less than 17 each month for the past 4+ years it was in beta), it probably wasn’t worth stamping with Google’s golden seal. Better just stash it in the BLT box and writing it off as a “crash course in building a scalable product.”

  2. As we discuss in our blog today (http://thehighconcept.blogspot.com/), Google’s move (which we are not trying to explain) is a fascinating example of how the rules of behavior for companies are changing. It used to be that once you commit to a product and/or direction, you better pay it off. The ease with which the Web can be changed has also changed the market’s view of experimentation such as Google’s. But, of course, Google has a track record. Smaller, emerging companies shouldn’t probably embark upon this kind of approach too lightly.

  3. SorenG says:

    All in the move toward community wisdom versus individual, I think. Still, they could have said more. It is interesting to see how they report their efforts that did not work . . .

    Also John, the last line is italicized, making it look like it is a quote, but I think it is a line from you.

  4. Exposure Tim says:

    I’d noticed that Google has been showing Yahoo Answers very high in their SERPs recently, and with authority sites like Wikipedia, Yahoo and others being deemed more worthy it’s not surprising to see this go away.

    It’s also something that is human-driven, as John points out in the title is a concept, it seems to me, that Google intrinsically does not favor long-term (ex: gone also is the Google Directory).

  5. Maybe Google doesn’t believe that people are smarter than their algorithms, and want to avoid any clutter in their SERPs, like Yahoo! does with Yahoo! Answers. I personally like search results with user created content, it gives the Web little more of a human touch.

  6. Richard Ball says:

    It does seem like Google’s conceded to Yahoo in this area. By integrating answers into search, Yahoo is differentiating their search product and, as others have noted, injected some humanity into algorithmic search. I wonder if this slight move towards social search will appeal to search engine audiences. Will it help Yahoo regain market share? I’d like to see them integrate del.icio.us bookmarked URLs into search results. This could be done on the front end, appending them to search results. Or, it could be done on the back end by modifying the underlying search ranking algorithm. What if Yahoo looked at del.icio.us bookmark popularity as a ranking factor, akin to Google using links for authority via PageRank. Perhaps that would really differentiate Yahoo’s search product.

  7. marc says:

    Yahoo! Answers team is welcoming former Google subject matter experts via the search blog.

    http://www.ysearchblog.com/archives/000385.html

  8. Asi says:

    Too bad. I think they gave up on this route too soon and Yahoo is going to reap the rewards of collective inteligence or as they call it, “better search through people”. The future of search to my view is a combination of both and while Yahoo! answer is still full of crap and clutter, I believe that this route will flourish in the future.

    A.

  9. Hashim says:

    Google sucks at building community. That’s why Answers failed.

    Now they need to kill off Google Notebook

  10. Fred says:

    “And based on those meager stats (800 google answer participants — that’s less than 17 each month for the past 4+ years it was in beta), it probably wasn’t worth stamping with Google’s golden seal.”

    sigh. I think I could make a career – if someone would pay me – correcting this particular piece of misinformation. There wasn’t 800 participants in GA, there were 800 Google-authorized researchers. Even a cursory skim of the site would show there were thousands of participants in GA.

  11. terc├╝me says:

    I wonder if this slight move towards social search will appeal to search engine audiences…

  12. ilan emlak says:

    Google has a track record. Smaller, emerging companies shouldn’t probably embark upon this kind of approach too lightly