Social-networking site Facebook recently started a public test of its new Facebook Questions feature.
“Facebook Questions helps you tap into the collective knowledge of the more than 500 million people on Facebook,” Blake Ross, Facebook’s director of product, said in a blog post on the company’s site.
“For example, if you’re vacationing in Costa Rica and want to know the best places to surf, you can use Facebook Questions to get answers from nearby surfing enthusiasts,” Ross wrote. “Because questions will also appear to your friends and their friends, you’ll receive answers that are more personalized to you.”
The feature initially will be offered to a limited number of Facebook members, who
More social networking will have the option of clicking an “Ask Question” button instead of updating their status. One key difference: Questions will be visible to everyone on the Internet.
With Facebook Questions, the site is competing with rivals such as LinkedIn and Yahoo, which also offer question-and-answer features, as well as the startup Quora. Nick O’Neill of All Facebook, an independent blog that caters to app developers, sees strong similarities with Quora.
“Users who define interests within their profile will have questions surfaced to them based on that information. In other words, it functions identically to Quora, which also has a questions-based profile for users,” O’Neill wrote. “Just like Quora, Facebook Questions also has the ability to ’follow’ specific questions and receive updates any time someone submits a new answer.” In the future, O’Neill suggested, Facebook could benefit by integrating questions into Facebook Ads.
Also recently, Ask.com launched a new version of its site that combines information from the Web with responses from Ask.com users to previously unanswered questions.
“As users continue to embrace the social Web, now is the perfect time to extend Ask’s technology beyond finding pages that have answers to finding people who do as well,” Ask.com President Doug Leeds said in a statement.
Internet giant Google acquired its own question-and-answer site in February, buying San Francisco startup Aardvark for an estimated $50 million.