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Google Doesn't Have the Right Answers

Shuts Down Q&A Feature That Lagged Yahoo's Similar Offering

By Published on .

NEW YORK (Adage.com) -- Google has shut down its question-and-answer features, Google Answers, four years after the product launched.
With Google's service shut down, Yahoo Answers remains the firm market leader in that category.
With Google's service shut down, Yahoo Answers remains the firm market leader in that category.

A pair of developers who worked on the project addressed the news on Google's corporate 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."

The site was a competitor to Yahoo Answers. According to Hitwise data, Yahoo Answers is the clear market leader, with more than 24 times the share of web traffic that Google Answers had and 50 times the share of visits to Microsoft's new Live QnA service.

Steep user fees
Perhaps part of the problem is Google's version wasn't free and ad-supported, like Yahoo's. In Google Answers, users submitted questions and paid a fee from $2 to $200 to be matched with an expert who could answer the query. Yahoo Answers operated similarly except without the charge; users asked questions and answered those posed by other users. Another ad-supported service, Answers.com, depends not on communities responding to queries but on dictionary and encyclopedia resources to provide answers.

According to the Google blog post: "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."
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