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Friday, June 29, 2007

Knowledge Search: Google Answers for Russia
By Tony Ruscoe

When Google Answers was shut down last November, many suggested that Google would be working on something to take its place. Yesterday, the official Russian Google Blog announced a new “Question and Answers” site would be available – but only in Russia.

For anyone like myself who can’t speak Russian, you can use Google Translate to get a reasonably good gisted machine translation of the post. Here’s a summary:

Nowhere does the announcement mention paying for answers, which was the basis for the old Google Answers site. Instead, it’s free to ask questions, like at Yahoo! Answers. However, when asking a question, you must specify how many points you wish to spend on asking the question – and you must have these points available. Presumably, these points then get awarded to the best answer. (I got 100 points just for signing up and could gain more by answering questions.)

Google may have been working on this service for some time. The “cf” service code was available as a “New Service” in the Google Accounts sandbox I discovered last year. Also, although the entire interface is currently only available in Russian, we know from the login page that the English name for this service is apparently “Knowledge Search”.

So, why has Google decided to release this in Russia rather than the United States? Do you think an English version of this site could be more popular than Yahoo! Answers?

[Via Googling Google. Screenshot by Google.]


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