Goodbye, Google Answers

In what may be a first for Google, the company has decided to shut down one of its sideshows/experiments – Google Answers - after more than four years. Is this a new strategic direction for Google and/or a sign of the times that some projects should die a quiet death if they're not working well? If this is Google's new approach, you wonder how long it will be before Okrut and Froogle are pushed out of the portfolio. Who knows, maybe this move suggests Google will be more pragmatic about rolling out new services rather than slapping stuff on the wall and seeing if it sticks. While Google gets points for experimenting with all kinds of different things, its less-than-stellar success into new markets (Google Spreadsheets, anyone?) has arguably damaged its reputation as an innovator more than it has produced tangible benefits. Update: Rex Hammock has a theory why Google Answers failed: Wikipedia.

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  • Sean

    Interesting that you should post about this, as I was just looking at the Google Labs page yesterday. While I can understand the need to let a company's embedded creativity loose, one has to ask how many resources are being committed to unworthy pet projects. Examples from Google Labs include Google Suggest (interesting, but a somewhat annoying user experience) and Google Sets (some have noted its usefulness for generating keywords, but the quality of a few tests provided marginal results). While I'm at it, you might as well throw in Google Ride Finder, Google Transit and Google Mars.
    Maybe I'm wrong and this will all come together in one giant “Aha!” moment. So far, all this seems like spaghetti thrown at the wall.

  • Mathew

    Rex has a good point, but as I asked him in his comments, if Wikipedia is the reason Google Answers didn't work, then why is Yahoo Answers doing so well?