Thursday, December 8, 2005

Yahoo Answers

Yahoo has come out with a new service called Yahoo Answers. Looks pretty interesting... the new site is a community based Q&A forum.

Basically anyone can type in any question and any user can submit an answer. So in some respects, it's like Wikipedia or eHow or How-To By You (an experimental website where anyone could answer how-to questions, looks like it's down now), where you leverage the knowledge of the community to find answers.

As this recent NYT article, "Snared in the Web of a Wikipedia Liar", notes, though, information posted by users online may not be accurate or reliable.

I think Yahoo Answers is interesting, but another challenge might be the ease by which users can find information. I hope they've set up good categories and contexts. For example, what if questions are related to NYC and services -- say I want to find a good hair-dresser or a reliable petsitter. It would be nice to have a good place to ask these questions, sort of like Chowhound's message board, except for everything instead of just food.

Here's a couple links to information services/resources:
  • Go Ask Alice - Columbia University's health Q&A service
  • Flyer Talk - for travel information and deals by frequent travelers
  • Judy's Book - a new service that seeks to help you find good local help in your community. "Does someone know a good plumber?"
  • Gothamist Forum - for NYC related discussion and sometimes good advice
  • Google Answers - if you're willing to cough up some dough

Hmm, there was a NYT article discussing the rise of these answering services, but I can't seem to locate it. Furl's search function really sucks!! Does anyone remember that article? There was also another article in NYT (or was it the New Yorker?) discussing the researchers behind Google Answers... ordinary people who like to sleuth around on the Internet for answers to questions.