Facebook to Join the Q&A Horde with New Questions Feature

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Question and answer sites online are often incredibly helpful, and thus incredibly popular. Thanks to sites like Yahoo Answers, I actually phrase a lot of my searches in the form of a question now, just so I can be sure to line up a queue of sites where users provide answers to user-asked questions. Facebook now wants to tap this market, providing that same service to its millions of users with the new application, Questions. Applications for beta testers are currently available.

The people at Facebook are eager to plug both the service and the propect of beta testing it:

As a beta tester, your job will be to ask great questions and provide great answers about your favorite topics. Economics? Skydiving? Relationships? Mexican Restaurants? It’s up to you. You’ll be the first person outside of Facebook to use this product. Your expert writing will be seen by tens of millions of people — including job recruiters. And we’ll bring our best beta testers out to California to tour Facebook headquarters and meet the team.

The application process is merely devising three interesting questions, then answering them to the best of your abilities, doing research to ensure top quality responses. It’s an interesting choice to let users pick their own questions, and it’s unclear whether applicants would be helped or hurt by choosing very specific questions that cater exactly to the areas of their expertise.

Once the feature makes it out of beta, it has the potential to provide an avenue of new social networking that’s actually pretty exciting. On other Q&A sites, it’s not particularly common for the question’s poser to befriend the responder. And yet on Facebook, that could be precisely what happens. Ideally, there will also be the ability to scout responses to your question sorted by network, allowing for some social experimentation, and a refined look at the set of answers you could choose from.

I hesitate to ever utter this phrase, but good move, Facebook. You’ve taken a service that people use regularly and plan to implement it on a site that just might take it to the next level. I eagerly await you adding it to the main set of applications. But you better not forget to add it to the privacy controls when you do.

(Via TechCrunch; image via TechCrunch)


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