Google is relaunching its failed Answers product as a Yahoo Answers clone, say the sharp-eyed obsessives at Google Operating System. In the original Answers, questioners would offer cash for answers and a researcher would provide them. As a result, the questions were usually highly detailed and meticulously factchecked. In the new version, supposedly titled Google Questions and Answers, the service would be free to use but presumably have the same accuracy problems that plague Yahoo's version.
At today's Google, however, quality is Job 101. Given Yahoo's overwhelming success with Answers, it's no surprise that Google is getting back in the game. One hopes, though, they'll add at least something of a Googly touch to the product. For example, why not take normal questions and parse them as search queries?
"What are the best pizza joints in Boston?" might return high-ranking results from sites like Yelp, rather than making searchers type "pizza boston, ma" and finding results themselves. Now that would be a service for the 95 percent crowd. Maybe Larry Page will get cracking on that when he's back from his honeymoon.