Question: Why did Google Answers fail?

According to the Official Google Blog, Google is pulling the plug on Google Answers. It will stop accepting questions later this week and stop accepting new answers by year’s end. The archive of questions and answers will remain.

Why did Google Answers fail too catch on? Why did only 800 people ever answer questions on the service? I could write a few thousand words here but one will suffice: Wikipedia.

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  • one word: you’re right. actually, it’s two but you’ve nailed it….:)

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  • Interesting thought, but why is Yahoo Answers thriving? Yahoo’s recently integrated their answers product in their search results.

  • That’s a good point, Rex. But if that’s true, why has Yahoo Answers continued to grow exponentially?

  • Rex Hammock

    Good question, Matt. I go way-back in the whole Q-A format. I think Yahoo has done a better job integrating answers into their overall search — thus, raising its visibility. I believe people answer questions for visibility, moreso than for the money they can make directly. (Sorta like why a lot of people blog.) More visibility — more participation. is why Yahoo has done better.

    However, (and I don’t have the statistics so I’m breaking a rule I constantly complain about when others do this) I think when compared to the participation and growth in content, Yahoo Answers (and, for good measure, throw in all the other Q-A sites) have not grown with near the velocity as Wikipedia. Also (and this is my bias) I find “answers” easier to find what I’m looking for in an encyclopedia-type format than in the Q-A format.

    However, every once in a while I find myself at a dead end looking for an answer — I keep forgetting any of those sites exist. (Ironically, we’re about to offer an area on SmallBusiness.com where those who can’t find what they want can ask a question — however, answers will ultimately be edited together into a wiki entry.)

  • Thanks, Rex. That’s a good answer — or answers. I think you are probably quite right that Yahoo has done a better job of making their Answers more visible, and that Wikipedia is also in many ways a more appealing way of doing the same thing (although plenty of Answers would never make it through the submission process to become a Wikipedia entry).