SAN FRANCISCO – Google is shutting down Google Answers, a service that lets users pose questions to a panel of researchers and pay for useful answers.
The service, about four years old, failed to gain much traction with users, especially when compared with a rival service offered by Yahoo, which is free.
“It was not one of our most popular products,” said Sunny Gettinger, a spokeswoman for Google.
Google, which has had overwhelming success in the Web search business, has introduced dozens of other services, many of which have not turned into hits. The company has said that experimentation is an important part of its strategy and that a high failure rate for new products is to be expected.
Google Answers never generated much traffic or revenue for Google, said Danny Sullivan, editor of the online publication Search Engine Watch.
“Yahoo has an answers product that works,” he said. Because Google Answers required users to pay, he said, it “could not have been that product.” Sullivan noted that unlike Yahoo, Google had not promoted its service very much.
Yahoo Answers, which was introduced nearly a year ago, has quickly built up a large community of users. Yahoo said the number of answers in its database had grown to about 60 million now from 10 million in May. The site, answers.yahoo.com, had about 14 million users in October.
At Yahoo Answers, anyone can ask or answer a question. The person who asked the question selects the best answer to it, and other members of the community can rate that answer. Tomi Poutanen, product director for Yahoo Social Search, described it as a way to harness the “wisdom of the crowds.”
Google’s India search service
Google said Thursday that it would provide search services to subscribers of Bharti Airtel, the largest Indian cellphone operator, Bloomberg News reported from Bangalore, India. Google will also sell text advertisements on Bharti’s cellphone Web portal.
Microsoft said last month that it would offer Internet-based services to Hutchison Essar’s wireless subscribers in India, tapping into the rising cellphone usage in the country, the fastest-growing major economy after China. India added a record 6.71 million wireless users in October, bringing the total to 136.22 million.
Fuente: International Herald Tribune