Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google Businesses The Internet

Google Answers Closing Up Shop 145

Posted by Zonk
from the now-how-will-we-know-things dept.
EricTheGreen writes "It isn't often that Google completely kills a product, which makes the announcement of the end of Google Answers noteworthy. I find it particularly interesting, given that there's clearly a market for this service. Yahoo!'s offering continues to flourish, it seems ... so what made Yahoo's service more attractive than Google's?" From the blog post: "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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Answers Closing Up Shop

Comments Filter:
  • by Spazntwich (208070) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @03:15PM (#17054740)
    because of the obviously superior and free competing product Slashdot offers.

    Got a question?

    Chances are if Soviet Russian gay nigger overlords aren't the answer, fish posters and licensing trolls are.

    And God bless every one of them.
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by Spazntwich (208070)
      I would love to know how this got moderated as a troll 3 times in a row.

      Doesn't trolling generally seek to elicit a negative response, or somehow misrepresent facts and lie to incense the audience?

      I referenced a few common slashdot trolls and running jokes in a tongue-in-cheek manner. Christ.
      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by ink (4325)
        I lol'd, if that helps.
      • by LindseyJ (983603)
        Probably because you used the word "nigger".

        Remember kids, nothing is sacred in America anymore except artificially imposed ethnic offensiveness.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by AmberBlackCat (829689)

        I would love to know how this got moderated as a troll 3 times in a row.

        Casually typing "nigger" would have caused me to mod you down if I had mod points.

        Doesn't trolling generally seek to elicit a negative response, or somehow misrepresent facts and lie to incense the audience?

        If any of the people on Slashdot are Black (like me) then putting that word out there definitely elicits a negative response.

        I referenced a few common slashdot trolls and running jokes in a tongue-in-cheek m

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          1)You said "Russian", not "Commie".

          Cliche='In soviet russia'.

          2) You said "gay", not "fag".

          Referencing the 'gay niggers from outerspace' troll.

          3) Instead of saying "Black", you said "nigger".

          Being that the name of the movie is Gay niggers from outerspace, I think that's rather understandable. How could anyone not recognise all of these on sight? I read slashdot about once a week, and 'I' got them.
        • Re:It failed... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @06:28PM (#17058204)
          I look forward to the day we can casually type nigger and other words because they no longer mean anything special.

          overuse and humor are probably the best way to drain the words of power.

          continuing to act like they have power gives them power they don't deserve.

          More to the point--- he was parroting text in common troll spam jokes here at Slashdot.

          When I was a young naive programmer... I worked in a language with six letter variables.
          I had a count field that i wanted to abbreviate. Two letters were reserved for the area (orders, invoices, etc.).

          So I dropped the O and and orcunt, incunt, xxcunt. The senior programmer came by and just about had a cow and yet- couldn't explain what the problem was. He finally just said trust him and change it to cont so I did. there was no internet back then so it was a little difficult to find out what the problem was.

          I get the impression that the parent poster really just sees nigger as any other mildly derogatory term (and to be fair- a ton of blacks use it daily without any problem- it's a like a special reserved word they can use playfully, insultingly, innocuously but is magically derogatory if anyone else uses).

          As more whites and blacks, and mexicans and blacks, and asians and blacks date, marry, and interbreed, the term becomes hard to define anyway.

          And personally, I prefer humor about anything (death, aids, my having cancer, me losing my hair, me being a geek) over getting all huffy and serious about it. Only through humor are we going to destroy the true racism by showing just how stupid it is to think you can know about a person because of their skin color.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by iamsolidsnk (862065)
            Well said, and I whole-heartedly agree. My friends benefit from my constant attacks on their character, and I think many of them now embrace their idiosyncrasies a bit more. It helps them play their strengths more in society. So, yeah, +1 Insightful
          • "As more whites and blacks, and mexicans and blacks, and asians and blacks date, marry, and interbreed" can I say no thanks, and not be called racist?
            • by Onan (25162) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @07:37PM (#17059118)

              As more whites and blacks, and mexicans and blacks, and asians and blacks date, marry, and interbreed
              can I say no thanks, and not be called racist?


              Depends a whole lot on why you're saying it.

              If it's "I personally don't want to sign up, because my type is those who happen to have about my own melanin levels", that doesn't seem particularly racist.

              If it's "I'd prefer people not do that, because I think races should be distinct and unmixed", that's a whole lot more problematic.

              (It's a good thing we're not offtopic here or anything.)

          • http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Ch i negro [urbandictionary.com]

            There was a movie where a woman actually defined the different kinds of intrebred races. Can't remember it for the life of me.

            Aha! Domino (2005)
            http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0421054/quotes [imdb.com]

            Some of her other ones were Blactino, blackasian, hispasian, koreagro, Japegro, Chispanic, koreaspanic, and japanic.

            I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
          • I look forward to the day we can casually type nigger and other words because they no longer mean anything special.

            We're taking back porch monkey [youtube.com] too.
        • And...if you live in america or europe, it's highly likely you are no more "black" than I am "english" (25%), a "native american" (25% choctaw), a "mick" (12.5%), the other 37.5% likely includes some black, several other native american tribes (cherokee for sure), various other european tribes but probably no asian. I'm a real heinz 57. Most "blacks" in america are too. Thankfully this is becoming even more common with all the interacial dating.

          However, you were raised to think of yourself that way so I
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jZnat (793348) *
          Casually typing "nigger" would have caused me to mod you down if I had mod points.
          A subtle reference to GNAA (Gay Nigger Association of America), not to black people... You must be new here (especially new since they've been trolling a lot lately).
      • But. You used a... bad word.

        Glad the funny guys finally got you over the hill.

    • by tompaulco (629533)
      because of the obviously superior and free competing product Slashdot offers.
      Except with slashdot you have to read all (or at least most) of the posts, and using all that data make a detrmination for yourself as to the correct answer.
      Or maybe that is not such a bad thing. I usually use that method when trying to learn something new. Get as many opinions as possible from every possible angle, then put them all together and come up with the most likely answer.
  • (well, blogspot /.'ed actually, but they're pwned by google)

    "The server encountered a temporary error and could not complete your request.
    Please try again in 30 seconds."

    woot.
  • by vivekg (795441) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @03:16PM (#17054772) Homepage Journal
    Yahoo says they believe in the power of community; in people helping people get answers to their questions. This is an open invitation to all Google Answers Researchers: http://www.ysearchblog.com/archives/000385.html [ysearchblog.com]
    • by D H NG (779318) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @04:05PM (#17055794)
      As a soon-to-be former Google Answers Researcher, I say no thanks. The questions there are bordering on idiocy and the answers are sometimes even less informed. If they're willing to pay for it, I'd be willing to put up with that, but working for free to a bunch of juveniles? Give me a break.
      • by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @06:29PM (#17058224) Homepage
        I get pretty frustrated with Yahoo Answers myself. It takes the longest time to find questions that are serious, interesting, and relevant to me.

        On the other hand, the barrier to entry for Google Answers was way too high. You had to pay to ask, and you had to go through a small job interview to answer. Once I found that out, I never touched it again. It wasn't free, so it never developed a community around it. Google should have seen that coming a mile away.

        It seems like the way to go would be a two-tiered system. People would be able to ask and answer questions, and eventually if they generate a high enough "trust metric" they would be allowed to answer for-pay questions. People could ask questions for free, or chip in a few bucks to motivate answers. People with insufficient credibility would be allowed to answer as well, but they'd get the "anonymous coward" treatment (e.g. answers not visible by default). Once the question is closed, the person has to select the best answer(s), and the money is divvied up.

        Yahoo should learn from World of Warcraft: You can get people addicted to leveling up.

        Of course, once you get money involved, people will start looking for ways to game the system.
      • by g8oz (144003) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @08:03PM (#17059410)
        Don't forget about Amazon's Mechanical Turk service which is *sort* of the same thing.

        http://www.mturk.com/mturk/welcome [mturk.com]

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Mechanical_Tur k [wikipedia.org]

  • The google blog brings up error 502. Don't tell me Google of all people cant handle a little slashdotting
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 30, 2006 @03:18PM (#17054804)
    The horror.
    • The horror.

      While Taps plays in the background.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by Sinbios (852437)
      Isn't that called Ask Slashdot around here?
    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      Q: "How many T-Rexes in a gallon of gas?"
      A: "SCO did it."
      A: "In Soviet Russia, gallon of gas is in T-Rex!"
      A: "More importantly, how many gallons are in a Beowulf cluster of Tyrannosauruses?"
      A: "It's 'How many T-Rexes are in a gallon of gas'. The Grammar Police strikes again."
      A: "A European T-Rex on an African one?"
      A: "I bet Roland de Piquepaille sent you to ask this. Go away."

      Yeah, that'll go real smooth.
  • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @03:20PM (#17054838) Homepage
    Adieu to Google Answers

    11/28/2006 10:22:00 PM
    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.
  • Well.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheGreatHegemon (956058) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @03:21PM (#17054856)
    It's honestly no surprise - Google has a lot of money to invest in different projects, but that doesn't mean they're going to waste it on something that doesn't work. Besides, people probably just use the Google Search Engine to find their answers anyway.
    • Re:Well.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @04:37PM (#17056442) Homepage
      True in my case.

      I always tried to use the Google search engine to find information first, almost always succeeded. The few times I didn't, and yet wanted to know badly enough to use Google Answers (and I offered a good price) my questions expired unanswered.

      It seems it would only be able to help when you actually don't need it. From its description it seemed like they would just research by trying Google queries and getting the information. If you know how to get relevant queries (use of Google's minus operator helps get rid of junk) you often can do it yourself and if you can't it is likely little good info is available on the public and indexed part of the web.

      Still, it was a nice idea and a shame it couldn't be made to work. Too many expired questions (the 30 day lifetime was too short I believe) was a big part of it.
      • Re:Well.. (Score:5, Informative)

        by SQLGuru (980662) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @05:06PM (#17056994) Journal
        Yeah, I second the "good searching skills" vote. My rule of thumb is that if I'm trying to find something and it takes longer than 2 hours, it isn't really available on the Internet. Most things take less than 15 minutes, obscure things less than 45.

        For those who aren't good at finding things the following are some good tips:
        1. A good vocabulary / thesarus is very handy (which rules out half of /. already).
        2. Good and bad spelling is important. Just because you can / can't spell a word, doesn't mean that everyone else can / can't.
        3. Word order can be important, too (even on engines that say it isn't).
        4. While I rarely use operators (AND, OR, -, etc.), knowing them is good for that hard to find query.
        5. Quotes around multiple words are more important that the operators. It means that the words have to appear together and in that order.
        6. My engine of choice is Google, but targeted engines might get you better results.

        Other links to useful tips:
        http://www.internettutorials.net/search.html [internettutorials.net]
        http://www.monash.com/spidap.html [monash.com]
        http://www.extremesearcher.com/handbooklinks.html [extremesearcher.com]

        Layne

        • Re:Well.. (Score:5, Funny)

          by VGPowerlord (621254) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @05:54PM (#17057746)
          I'm sorry, my mind is having trouble grasping the concept of someone named SQLGuru not using boolean operators.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by SQLGuru (980662)
            I do admit it is funny and somewhat ironic, but I chalk it up to my SQL background as to why I DON'T use the operators when searching. I tend to use multiple windows/tabs to search, so if I'm going to do an OR, I'll just run the query in two windows. When you throw an OR into a SQL query, you can kill performance of that query. A lot fo the time a UNION of two result sets is faster than the same query with an OR (sometimes not, Query tuning is a form of technical voodoo). Of the operators, the one I use
            • I'm not claiming to be an expert in SQL, but the NOT operator not using a table scan really depends on what you're doing with it.

              I fully expect NOT IN to use an index, for example.

              I haven't really looked into the performance of OR vs. UNION. I rarely use OR, preferring to use IN instead on those few things that I actually need an OR for. I haven't studied the performance of IN vs. writing, say, 4 queries to check IPv4 masks, but I'm just going to assume IN will be faster.
              • by SQLGuru (980662)
                As an FYI, EXISTS performs slightly better than an IN for most queries with no major change in the code. EXISTS gets to benefit from stopping once a match is found as opposed to running the entire sub-query before searching the results. The only time they are close in performance is when what you are matching is at the end of the list. And then, they are more or less equal.

                Of course, I normally change my code to read:

                select from Table where exists( select 'TRUE' from Sub-Table where )

                Instead of

                select
                • Yes, EXISTS is probably better than IN for subqueries, but the INs I work with now are more along the line of a small number of bound parameters.
        • 5. Quotes around multiple words are more important that the operators. It means that the words have to appear together and in that order.

          A small addition for anyone who, like me until recently, doesn't know: you can put an asterisk in quotes to wildcard words. For example: "red * car" will search for 'red', zero or more words, then 'car'. It comes in handy quite often in searching for technical things.
    • The question I always wanted to ask them (but I never thought I had 20-100$ to spare for something like that) was to get a credible estimate (in other words, not just a guess) about how hard different languages are. Can you get to the same level of french in a month that you can in spanish? And how much does this depend on your native language?
      I've googled a lot, never found anything but guesses and unverified claims (about how long the US army uses to train translators, for instance). Never found any actua
  • The blog posting doesn't offer any insight into *why* they're stopping the service. I understand that there are only a few hundred users, but surely google can afford to keep running the site; if it's useful for those people then why not keep it?

    Maybe I should ask google answers...
    • by MarkGriz (520778) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @03:46PM (#17055406)
      Sure most slashdotters knew of Google Answers. But even then, I myself only
      new about it because I saw it mentioned somewhere and decided to check it out.
      If you went to google.com, it wasn't even listed there. There's a good chance that
      90% of the world wasn't even aware of it.

      And honestly, even if *everyone* knew about it, there's only a small fraction that
      are either too busy or too lazy to look it up themselves.
  • by gmezero (4448) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @03:23PM (#17054902) Homepage
    Google Answers was originally designed to build a giant knowledge base of data to complement Google searches. Unfortunately, over the years it turned into lots of specialised questions with little re-use value, as most simple answers were found simply by Googling them. Therefore it never achived it's goal. I'm not surprised at this turn of events.
    • by rolfwind (528248) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @05:27PM (#17057376)
      It sounds like Wikipedia has fulfilled that niche better and perhaps they are giving up because of that?
      • by Chyeld (713439)
        I wouldn't really call it 'giving up'. That implies the purpose the project was created for is being abandoned instead of what really happened.

        Google Answers was a project that didn't have the results that were being sought. I'm sure the people who ran the project are still seeking those results, just not through this project.
  • by rickkas7 (983760) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @03:24PM (#17054936)
    Google Answers [google.com] were completed by theoretically screened researchers and you had to pay to get an answer.

    Yahoo Answers [yahoo.com] are completed by random people who have enough time to sit around and answer what appears to me to be a lot of really stupid questions that people should have been able to figure the answers to by themselves.

    Apparently people prefer a free answer of questionable accuracy to having to pay for an answer.

    • by tnk1 (899206)
      a lot of really stupid questions that people should have been able to figure the answers to by themselves.

      Well you answered it yourself. The questions are dumb enough that they know that they don't want to actually pay someone to do it. They want people to find the answers for them for free. If you have to a) use effort or b) use money, you might as well do it yourself.

    • by floorpie (20816) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @03:35PM (#17055164) Homepage
      > Apparently people prefer a free answer of questionable accuracy to having to pay for an answer.

      Sounds like Wikipedia to me.
    • But, but, but... It's the WEB TWO POINT OH! Sure we lose a bit of money on each free answer, but we'll make it up in volume!

    • Silicon Valley is littered with dead companies who have tried to complete with "free". I enjoyed many amusing sales pitches about "value proposition" from start up companies selling overpriced software while free software was available to do nearly the same task. In some cases "free" is worth what you paid for it. In other cases, the free stuff ourshines the for-sale software. Most of the time, it's somewhere in the middle.

      In any case, if there is a competitor offering a free version of the same produ
      • The problem is the quality of the "Google Answer" is not particularly high. And you cannot really use this sort of the answer to back up anything.

        In 95% of cases, a bit of googling will bring you something of the same quality. I guess the Yahoo Answer is the not the exact reason whey Google Answer folds... This case is more like cannibalism between projects...
    • by Kjella (173770)
      Apparently people prefer a free answer of questionable accuracy to having to pay for an answer.

      That I can understand (no, really!). What I can't understand is why you'd use a Q&A site to do it. If the answer is that easily available, it's probably right there on a google search or Wikipedia. Plus not only the answer to your question, but in the context of an article. If it isn't... well, then with 99%+ accuracy you'll get no answer or an uninformed answer. To me those fill two quite different markets, a
    • by Trojan35 (910785)
      It not only wasn't free, it was the wrong price point. Most of the answers I saw were around $10. That's enough money (more than $0) for most people to want to use a free service. It's not enough money to break-even with.
  • Create your own question, answer it yourself and you have a free back link from answer.google.com...think they have nofollow tags these days for outgoing links but G answers used to be a good source for free links.
  • The price??? (Score:3, Informative)

    by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot@keirste ... minus physicist> on Thursday November 30, 2006 @03:33PM (#17055114) Homepage

    Yahoo!'s offering continues to flourish, it seems ... so what made Yahoo's service more attractive than Google's?"

    Umm... the price. Google Answers was a bounty-style format for answers- you ask a question, post a sum you're willing to pay for the answer. Someone finds the answer, you pay them.

    Yahoo! answers is totally different. It's bascially a glorified message board with some rating controls - anyone can post a question, and anyone can answer a question. It's totally free.

    Because of this, you see two things if you spend some time looking at Google Answers vs. Yahoo! Answers:

    • Google Answers has more interesting and difficult questions that need some research, whereas Yahoo! Answers has some really lame questions. This is because you don't have to pay a bounty on Yahoo!
    • Google Answers has far less questions being asked, again likely because you have to pay for your answers
    • The Google Answers interface is not as polished.

    I think it's pretty easy to deduce from this what's happened. Google came out with this Answers idea first. BUt like so many projects in the Google incubator, not many people know about it. Combine this with the fact that it is a pay-for service, and you get something that's very underutilized. Normally, Google wouldn't care much about this, since they have oodles of horsepower (look at all the obscure projects going on at Google Labs all the time). But they had to process payments for this thing, that means overhead. And it likely wasn't making any money.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LMacG (118321)
      According to my customized Google home page, three of the current questions posted on Y! Answers are:

      - Should I send a wedding invitation to people I know can't come?
      - Does Mrs. Claus have a first name?
      - What's the deal with kids wearing their pants below their butts?

      Yep, I'd say "lame" is a good description.

      I can't actually click through to see what's there beyond the questions, because the corporate WebSense filter tells me it's a chat or message board.
      • by Firehed (942385)
        I can't actually click through to see what's there beyond the questions, because the corporate WebSense filter tells me it's a chat or message board.

        But it lets you on Slashdot?
      • by mariocrux (979863)
        Yes, but those are questions for Yahoo! Ask, not for Yahoo! Answers, it's a different service, thought, those are really lame questions.
      • Yahoo! Answers has 4 kinds of questions, in order of popularity:
        • The "do you agree with me" questions that are not actually questions, but rather flamebait. Usually these questions look like "Why do Christians believe in a fairy tale?", "Why don't people realize that evolution is a bunch of lies?", "Why are liberals a bunch of pussies?" and generally they'll award the question to whomever best augments their position.
        • Irrelevant "party" questions - generally "what are your favorite" or other joke questions.
        • Le
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Business 2.0 is running a story "How to Succeed in 2007" that features short responses from Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt. In both the responses they seem to say Google will be cutting back on its features.

    http://money.cnn.com/popups/2006/biz2/howtosucceed /index.html [cnn.com]
    http://money.cnn.com/popups/2006/biz2/howtosucceed /12.html [cnn.com]

    --Tefen
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @03:55PM (#17055576) Homepage Journal
    Because the format didn't help with definitive answers to imperative questions like whether "our building might be on fire" [google.com], even though the "experts" supplied the correct answer, sometimes immediately.

    Question
    Subject: google headquarters, flammability of
    Category: Miscellaneous
    Asked by: mala-ga
    List Price: $2.00 Posted: 29 Sep 2004 16:06 PDT
    Expires: 29 Oct 2004 16:06 PDT
    Question ID: 408127

    Is Google HQ on fire right now? My wife drove your campus and saw
    smoke. Are you guys okay? I can probably get a ladder if you need it.

    Answer Log in to add an answer
    There is no answer at this time.

    Comments Log in to add a comment
    Subject: Re: google headquarters, flammability of
    From: antfugue-ga on 30 Sep 2004 11:56 PDT

    The city fire department was practicing on an abandoned building near
    Google HQ. Google HQ's Flamability Index remains unchanged.
  • by D H NG (779318) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @04:00PM (#17055696)
    Although the last day to ask questions is today, us researchers have a month to answer the unanswered questions. Additionally, Google notified the researchers that it will share the ad revenues generated from the questions that we answered. The details haven't been worked out yet, but it should be a nice severance package for some researchers who urgently need it (some researcher's sole income is from Google Answers, such as the extremely popular pinkfreud-ga [google.com]. What a horrible surprise when we're told that it would end with very short prior notice (2 days ago).
  • by ribuck (943217) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @04:15PM (#17056004) Homepage
    A bunch of soon-to-be-ex-researchers is preparing a replacement service, although it might take a few weeks to get it running. Announcements will be made at http://web-owls.com/ [web-owls.com], a team blog run by GA Researchers.

    We researchers can see the potential for a new service. Even though the existing service might not suit Google's current needs, it has been popular with researchers, customers and commenters.

    I'm researcher eiffel-ga at Google Answers, and I've enjoyed my four years there even though I only answered 199 questions. All of the researchers are really sad to see the service folding.
  • But I think the downfall was the pay-for-answer format as it was implemented. They gave customers too many choices in how to price their questions, which can lead to indecision.

    It would have been interesting to have a 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 200$ selection as opposed to the freeform input--give people a way to choose from a set range of options instead of giving them the task of identifying a price. It may sound trivial, but for people not familiar with the answers system it might have helped some folks get o
  • And just search Wikipedia everytime there was a question, because we all know if it is on the internet it is true and accurate. Right slashdot?
  • by fo0bar (261207) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @04:33PM (#17056364)
    When Google Answers first opened up, I thought I'd find out the answer to the age-old question, who's yer daddy? [google.com]

    Turns out it's usually the one who married yer mommy. But not always.
  • Question (Score:5, Funny)

    by Cygnus78 (628037) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @04:34PM (#17056378)
    Has anyone asked if they can keep it open ?
  • by RareButSeriousSideEf (968810) on Thursday November 30, 2006 @04:47PM (#17056652) Homepage Journal
    So far I've heard reasons for the closure referencing things like there being a mere 800 researchers, the service didn't really take off, it wasn't shaping up as a real long term success prospect, etc...

    Has anyone thought about the other side of this, though? Google is becoming the de-facto data warehouse for the masses, and its success is partly due to peoples' perception (right or wrong) that it will just "always be there." This discontinuation of a service could put a huge dent in that confidence, even if they never make the data unavailable.

    I barely used Google Answers, but did every now and then. I use the hell out of my GMail though, and it's really come to replace my Zip disks & USB sticks as my medium of choice for portable storage. That's happened in part because of that same nebulous feeling of permanence -- that fuzzy belief that Google is big enough that I don't need to worry about them discontinuing anything.

    To me, even though it doesn't affect me much in a direct way, this decision still inflicts the first real injury to my perception of the Google brand. I used to be willing to invest some time kicking the tires of just about any Google offering, since they could afford to keep services out there even when they weren't big winners, just because they were cool. It's a small shift in thinking for me, but I wonder if it might not have a surprisingly large effect on my Google usage habits in the future.

    Just a thought.

    • I was actually just trying to remember if I'd heard of another Google service that went away, and how tragic it would be if they did. However, I figured that was the first sign that they were turning into any more mature (read: less cool) company. All of the other major web service companies have opened and closed, or completely reincarnated a bunch of services. I guess it's a sign of weakness I hadn't seen from Google yet.

      OTOH, I guess if you had to pick a Google service that I wouldn't shed tears over,
  • One of the problems with Google answers is that the researchers were not experts in the some of the domains in which the questions were asked. It would be better if they could graft the bounty functionality into Google groups itself, IMO.
  • Googling them! No, really. It's the most novel concept in the world. You should try it some time.
  • I think that this is fairly significant because google has been often viewed as an invincible company that excels at everything. Having public news on one of its failings will be bad for its image.
  • From http://www.chacha.com/ [chacha.com].I can't believe this wasn't brought up already (at least in my threshold). If you don't think chacha is catching on, see:

    http://www.pbnation.com/showthread.php?t=1872475 [pbnation.com]

    http://www.genmay.net/showthread.php?s=a69fba41b66 d1eff21a2f920476dbe65&t=691767 [genmay.net]

    http://chachachats.wordpress.com/ [wordpress.com]

    http://www.rotteneggs.com/r3/show/se/700-forum-dis play_topic-0-1-1298121.html [rotteneggs.com]

    Just to name a few places where it's not only mentioned, but enjoyed and abused far more than google answers

  • by Jorkapp (684095) <.moc.liamtoh. .ta. .ppakroj.> on Thursday November 30, 2006 @05:56PM (#17057788)
    I was going to get a Google answer as to why Google answers was closing their doors, but alas.
  • Google Answers was great. Although I was never qualified as a researcher, I am an expert in my field, and would love to spend my free time answering people's questions for a moderate additional income.

    On the other hand, when I have a question which I don't know the answer, can't easily find the answer, and don't have the time to dig for the answer -- Google connects me to someone who does/can.

    Most importantly, Google Answers was a way for me to buy expensive specialized niche information for cheap.

    For
  • When Google answers first started, and for the few years thereafter, most questions would be grabbed and locked by researchers within minutes of the question's posting. But over the last couple of years fewer and fewer questions were locked, meaning fewer and fewer researchers were taking questions. The last six months or so, almost no questions were locked.

    So it wasn't that people weren't trying to use the service - people were asking lots of questions but Google didn't keep up the number of researchers th
  • And handling human input is not Google's core strength. They are excellent at searching through texts, finding patterns, etc. But offering answers from humans (beyond simply "googling it") is something else — not that they can't do it, just that it is not employing their major strength...

    So their offering was not better than Yahoo!'s (probably even worse), and hence they wisely killed it...

    I suspect, their image-tagging project will suffer a similar fate. That it still exists is, probably, due to

  • Google Answers has been around for a while, and I don't think it would ever reach the scale that would be necessary to make it profitable for them. If you add up the amounts offered for all the questions in a day and multiply by 0.25 (or whatever Google's take is) you get a pretty insignificant amount for a multi-billion dollar company. A drop in the bucket. And, when you figure in the costs of hosting and administering the site, overseeing all the disputes and whatnot, it becomes more of a burden than a
  • I suck as a marketer, that is a fact, but I am wondering why they do not make it just commission based : google gets a cut of paid, good answers from whoever who is in the field.

    I mean if they have $$$ coming in, why just cut the service? Maybe too much dudes sitting there on a fixed salary and doing nothing ?

    hmm...
    • by geekoid (135745)
      BUch of dudes sitting there use google to answer the questions for google answers...
  • WebQuotes disappeared from google labs recently too.. and didn't appear to graduate to anywhere.. too bad. It must be part of that focus on core products that Larry was talking about a few months ago..
  • Seriously, ChaCha.com [chacha.com] seems to be a sort of stripped-down version of Google Answers: a way to get help from a real live person in finding the answer to your search problem. Faster, too. And cheaper. It's not surprising Google Answers would go under...
  • If Google Answers were an independent company, Google would pay $100 million or more for it.

    I believe that it is less "evil" to keep Google Answers than to end it so suddenly, at Christmastime, when many people depend on it for a living. Many Researchers are disabled or senior citizens, and every researcher does their own bit to help the world through their research. There is no reason for Google to give up on it rather than improving it.

    Help keep Google Answers by signing this petition!

    http://www.petition [petitiononline.com]

Old programmers never die, they just hit account block limit.

Working...