Got a question? Ask the Web!
The search engine Ask.com
today launched a community of users that will be specifically tasked
with asking and answering questions. Although Ask will continue to
respond to traditional search queries, answers from both its search
engine technology and the new community will now pop up on the results
There’s nothing new about posing questions on web sites and waiting for answers. Yahoo! Answers has done this for years and other sites like WikiAnswers and AnswerBag
have been around almost as long. However, the answers are usually
provided by random visitors and the person asking the question has
little or no guarantee that the answers are accurate or even serious
attempts to provide a legitimate response.
Ask Networks President
Scott Garell said his site is concentrating more on Q&A because it
can be hard to find good answers to questions that are time-sensitive
and objective using a more conventional search engine like Google.
The site’s hope is to eventually give users the answers they are
looking for 90 percent of the time (it’s currently about 60 percent).
has been building up a stockpile of questions and answers from users in
a private testing phase started earlier this year and is now accepting
others into the community on an invite-only basis. (You can request an
invite at http://www.ask.com/invite.)
forward, Ask will route questions to users who identify themselves as
experts on specific subjects. To get the best answers, users will vote
on them. Those answers getting enough positive votes will eventually
trickle into the search results. However, if you claim to be an expert
in a particular subject but consistently give answers that users find
erroneous or unhelpful, Ask will stop routing that type of question to
Tony Gentile, Ask's
senior vice president for product management, said many questions being
asked online revolve around how one should spend time or money or choose
between a number of different options. “What we're ultimately trying to
do is help people make a confident decision,” Gentile said.