Sunday, May 09, 2010

A Better Yahoo Answers Alternative: Aardvark

After the demise of Google Answers, it would seem that Google has decided to leave the realm of crowdsourcing collective consciousness.

Come February 12, 2010 however, Google has reinvigorated their approach and acquired tech startup Aardvark or vark.com (Don't confuse with aardvark.com)  for $50 Million. This innovative website promises to give Q&A users real time quality answers through its intelligent algorithmic matching.  

It's dynamic is simple and effective.

Person A asks a question, Vark.com places a tag on the question and then searches for a person in the network who is best qualified to answer. It could be Person B, C or D.

The results are impressive.

What's more interesting is that with integration to Google's IM protocol, users can conveniently add aardvark to their list of Google Talk buddies and chat with it as if it were an actual person. Well, the people who answer are actual people after all. Aardvark then serves as a buffer wherein it 'filters' and aggregates this set of 'relevant people' to just one IM contact - aardvark.

So far, I've managed to ask certain questions on Google Talk as if it were an actual person I know. The responses were generally satisfying  - maybe because Internet Marketers and Spammers have not yet gotten wind of the service.

Interestingly, when I asked aardvark how long it would take for spammers and make money online kibitzers to get wind of the service, somebody answered, 6 months. I'm guessing that it would take shorter than that as people who are tired of Yahoo Answer's cartoony appearance and more often than not spammy users, would take vark.com as a cool and refreshing breeze in the world of Q&A.