Yahoo has just launched a new service called Yahoo Answers, which allows you to submit questions and have the Yahoo community answer them.
The concept of having real people answer questions is not a new one with Google Answers offering a similar service (albeit for a fee) for a couple of years now. That being said, Yahoo’s free offering aims to tap into the combined knowledge of its extensive community, to help answer those more difficult questions.
What is interesting is that search is slowly devolving before our eyes. Danny Sullivan has already lamented that “tagging” tools such as Yahoo’s My Web and Del.icio.us seem a step backward in trying to organize the world’s information. Now with Yahoo Answers, aren’t we admitting that a search engine alone will never be enough to help searchers find what they truly seek?
Of course, Yahoo will track the questions and answers in an effort to better understand searches and (hopefully) improve the automated search results we have come to know and love. That being said, I still can’t help feeling that if the search engines are going to make billions of dollars off our millions of daily searches, shouldnt we be further along in trying to understand complex search queries? And what kind of backlash would we see if they started adding paid search ads alongside Yahoo Answers – would they be prepared to split the revenue earned?
Gary Price throws in his 2 cents.