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Tuesday, 2nd January 2007

Sarokin on the End of Google Answers

A new article by David Sarokin in Free Pint takes a look at the end of Google Answers. David shares some personal thoughts about the service. He was a Google Researcher.

A couple of quick thoughts (from Gary).

This ResourceShelf posting on the day we learned that Google was shutting down Google Answers contains a bunch of thoughts on the closing of Google Answers. No need to repeat all of them here.

Perhaps most interesting is a quote (a reminder of sorts) from Google VP, Marissa Mayer, who told BusinessWeek last summer that 60%-80% of what Google makes publicly available might eventually go away. The writer of the Newsweek article uses the expression "crash and burn."

Mayer also told Time magazine in October 2006:

"Users aren't going to remember our 50-plus products. They'll remember three to five. We need more features and fewer products," she says.

Other Points
Today, in this ResourceShelf post, we mention and share some thoughts about a couple of new or soon arrive question and answer services from Amazon.com. One is named askville and the other NowNow (using email and powered by humans, aimed at mobile users). Will NowNow be a new place for Google Answers researchers to make some money?

About the same time Google Answers began Ask Jeeves (now Ask.com and the company I work for full time) ended their Answer Point, human powered, Q&A service. Our post has a link to comments about the Answer Point service from Ask.com's CEO, Jim Lanzone.

Finally, let's not forget about the many 24x7, 365, remotely accessible, and free QandA services available around the world that are powered by librarians and other subject experts.

Enquire in the United Kingdom is one example. AskNow in Australia is another example.

Perhaps some of the info professionals and subject experts who worked with Google (and other services) would be interested in helping these services both in terms of actual question answering and marketing. Btw, this form of reference is often referred to as virtual reference. This post from September offers overview and examples for non-librarians. Of course, many times in-depth and detailed research analyzed and ready for presentation requires the work of an independent information professional. The Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP) has info and a directory on the web.

See Also: Digital Reference Services Bibliography
Thanks to Garett Rogers for his help.


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