Thursday, November 30, 2006

No more (Google) answers

First of all, I have to admit that I never used Google Answers, which is about to shut down. I really like the idea behind it, being able to ask so-called knowledge questions for 50 cents a piece (a non-refundable fee) with an optional donation of something between 2 and 200 US dollars (that is, you as the person needing the answer set the price). That seems to be what the folks at Yahoo! thought, too - the main difference being that theirs is a free service (for the end user, at least - involving a points and levels system to non-monetarily reward users). And they are not alone, as Microsoft recently launched their Windows Live QnA service. Difficult to say whether an alternative to these more commercially-oriented services is in sight.

While this may seem like a drawback for Google at first sight, assuming that they're experimenting with lots of things (with some of their services such as Gmail that really take off), it's not that bad to close down an Internet service that does not receive sufficient attention, provided it does not affect the core business. And in Google's case, it doesn't.

On a side note, I do not really seem to understand what the difference between these services and good old newsgroups is. Perhaps this is also why these services (providing answers to questions) might not really work if they involve charging money. Or at least, there should be a difference between basic and premium Q&A services.

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