Google is taking steps to relaunch their Google Answers service as a social content generation system similar to the Yahoo Answers model, and rebrand the service as Google Q&A according to the Google Operating System Blog.
The service is currently being road tested in Russia and China, but is expected to roll out soon, possibly with the New Year, across Google.com as part of their ever growing effort to better socialize Google’s suite of products and provide in-house services which their competitors have established.
As an example, look into Google Knol, the new Google-fied version of Wikipedia, or the Flickrization or YouTubeization of Google MyMaps, adding ratings and comments to Google Maps. Both offerings will improve the usage of Google, and keep its users within the Google Grid, even if Google has been late to the game to socially bind its entire portal; it seems that the dots are connecting.
- Google Answers was originally a paid expert service where Google experts would perform research to answer for a fee.
- Yahoo later swept in with its own Q&A service, Yahoo Answers, where users can tap the knowledge of members of the Yahoo Network, and socially connect with them.
- Yahoo Answers has been a huge success, revolutionizing the online Q&A system, integrating into web search results, and sent the Google Answers model packing to UClue.
- MSN and Amazon launch their own Q&A services, loosely based on the Yahoo Answers model.
- However, the Yahoo Answers model does have its own controversies, with self governance and quality information issues … can Google improve upon the Yahoo model?
Ever since Facebook stepped up its advertising after opening up its platform to external developers, Google has been on the social networking warpath : with plans and initiatives to enhance its core search, maps and mail offerings; while also getting into mobile.
Yahoo is happy with the global success of Yahoo Answers and has been riding its wave for almost two years now. But I’m afraid Yahoo is too satisfied with Yahoo Answers, and its reluctance to connect its own users on a social level, despite its launches or acquisitions of Yahoo 360, MyBlogLog and Yahoo Mash, seems to be leading to taking some of the wind out of their social sails (I’ve always felt Yahoo should build MyYahoo into a social network connecting Yahoo Mail, toolbar, Messenger, Flickr and MyWeb in a Facebook style setting … canning their separately branded social initiatives, which seem more like growths on the outside of a mighty giant rather than its pumping heart).
Given that Google’s social projects are creeping up their beanstalk, it’s time for Yahoo become proactive again.
Will Google Q&A and the Yahooization (Flickrization/YouTubeization) of Google snowball into what Google Answers and Google Notebook never have amounted to… Or is Q&A just a lot of hot air?