At some point in the history of search and search engines? It seems there was a time that “answer engines” for “social search” appeared poised to be a contender to the traditional google search.  Of course, that never actually happened, as a number of sites faded, some of soldiered on, offering locational value do users with is you esoteric or specific questions.

Something that you could call fairly ironic, discovery of these answers typically happened through conventional search results and SEO.

One of the early players was Yahoo Answers, it was a survivor of the “answer wars, which came out a few years ago. The company just introduced a new mobile version that they have dubbed Yahoo Answers Now.  

Not only does it have a onerous sign up and sign in process, the app also offers a relatively nice UX And search for content.

When you look at sites like Yahoo Answers and other sites like Jelly, promise of these types of sites is that you’ll get a very specific response to a very specific question that is asked. The expectation created is almost real time responses from knowledgeable humans,  not some computer-based knowledge panel.

Although it’s possible to get near instant responses from people, generally speaking, there’s a meaningful delay between the submission of the question and the receipt of the answer. The big problem with this type of service though, is that quite often, the quality of answers isn’t as desirable as we would hope they would be.

But the benefit that Yahoo Answers has is a huge content archive any large community. It tried to answer quality issues in various ways over time, including through voting. In Answers Now, it’s using a matching algorithm to send questions to”qualified responders to have the experience and expertise to provide a high-quality answer.”

There was a point when sites like Amazon, Google, and Facebook were all playing in this segment. But eventually, these three players have all exiled space.  quota still exists, and so do and ChaCha, among other stragglers. There are other Q&A communities that were made as well, such as Stack Exchange.

The promise of these answer engines has never really been for filled. Perhaps a messaging-based app will deliver some day.

Source – Greg Sterling