[Asis-l] Fwd: Google's Newest Technology: People Answering your Questions

Melissa Riesland riesland65 at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 22 12:37:03 EDT 2002

> SearchDay
> April 22, 2002 - Number 251
> Google's Newest Technology: People Answering
> your Questions
> Google has introduced a beta program that
> allows users to post questions
> that will be personally answered by a
> professional researcher -- for a
> fee.
> By Chris Sherman
> Associate Editor, Search Engine Watch
> http://searchenginewatch.com/searchday/
> Copyright (c) 2002 INT Media Group, Inc.
> + Google's Newest Technology: People Answering
> your Questions
> Google has quietly introduced a beta program
> that allows users to post
> questions that will be personally answered by a
> professional researcher --
> for a fee.
> The service, called Google Answers, is a
> decided departure from Google's
> high-tech, highly automated approach to web
> search.  It's also built on a
> model that has had mixed success in the past,
> and that faces direct
> no-cost competition from numerous public
> libraries around the world
> offering similar online "aska" services.
> To use the service, you need to first register
> for an account, providing a
> few personal details and credit card
> information for billing.
> Registration is free.  Once you sign up, you
> can sign in at any time to
> see your account status page.  This page shows
> all of the questions you've
> posted, their status (open, needs attention, or
> closed), the date and time
> of the most recent update, the name of the
> professional who handled the
> question, and the price you set for an answer.
> Posting a question is simple -- just enter your
> question, select the
> maximum amount of time you're willing to wait
> for an answer (one week, one
> month, or one year), and enter the amount
> you're willing to pay for an
> answer (from $4 to $50).
> "The more research it takes, the more user
> should be willing to pay," said
> Google spokesperson Eileen Rodriguez.
> Once you've entered a question, it is posted
> immediately.  There is a $.50
> cent non-refundable listing fee, but you are
> not charged the answer fee
> until a Google researcher posts an answer.  The
> fee is fully refundable if
> you're not satisfied with the answer, according
> to Rodriguez.
> Google has instituted a rating system that it
> hopes to use for
> quality-control feedback on the performance of
> researchers.  Once a
> question has been answered, the user is asked
> to rate the quality of the
> response, from one to five stars.
> All Google users are free to browse current
> questions and answers.  The
> list of questions currently being asked
> displays the title of each
> question and the date it was asked, who asked
> it and how much they offered
> for an answer.  If the question has already
> been answered, you'll see the
> name of the researcher who answered it and the
> star rating from the user
> who asked the question.
> In an interesting twist, Google is allowing all
> users to comment on
> answers or questions that are posted -- at no
> charge. This means that
> before posting a question, you can scan through
> previously posted
> questions and answers to see if your question
> has already been answered.
> You can even cancel a pending question if your
> question is answered by a
> Google user before a professional researcher
> has had a chance to get to
> it.
> Who are the research professionals responsible
> for answering the
> questions?
> According to Rodriguez, they're Google contract
> employees, carefully
> selected for their research skills. 
> "Researchers go through an intensive
> interview process," she said, adding that over
> the long term the company
> hopes to have researchers recruited from the
> web.  If you're interested
> applying to be a research professional for
> Google Answers, there's an
> online application form.
> Why is Google, known for its high-tech, highly
> automated approach to web
> search, introducing this decidedly low-tech,
> human intensive service?
> "There are a lot of people looking for
> information on the web but don't
> have the time to find the information," said
> Cindy McCaffrey, Google's
> Vice President, Corporate Marketing.  "This
> program takes the burden of
> time away."  McCaffrey also said the program
> should appeal to people who
> don't understand how to search, and would
> prefer to delegate the process
> to a professional.
> McCaffrey stressed that the program was in its
> very early beta stages, and
> likely to change and evolve quickly as Google
> had a chance to evaluate its
> effectiveness and incorporate suggestions from
> users.
> Google Answers
> http://answers.google.com
> Google Answers: Frequently Asked Questions
> https://answers.google.com/answers/faq.html

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