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Yahoo Answers With Improvements

David A. Utter
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-02-23

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If you've got questions, the users at Yahoo Answers don't have blank stares; they may have answered your question already, and the Yahoo Answers engineers have made it easier to find that answer with the wonders of Ajax programming.

Once upon a time, Internet users looking for answers to vexing questions ("Is vi better than emacs?") would visit Usenet. They could post a question to a newsgroup related directly to their topic, and usually someone, somewhere, would post an answer.

That was before the dark times; before the newbies arrived, and every other posting was MAKE MONEY FA$T! When Google bought DejaNews and wiped out the binaries-focused groups from it, that pretty much signaled a greater shift from Usenet to the Web.

Yahoo launched its Answers service only a couple of short months ago. They probably don't agree with the Usenet question/answer comparison, and that is ok. But it is a service that brings users answers to their questions.

Those users have to register for Yahoo accounts, which makes it much easier to identify people who abuse what is otherwise a compelling service. The Yahoo Answers team has added functionality that reflects its growing usage and popularity.

They developed an Ajax widget that searches previously asked questions as one types in a query. Responses appear below the Ask Your Question box, sorted by relevance to the terms of the question. That should help reduce the number of duplicate questions being asked.

There is now a Yahoo Answers Badge one can place on a blog, and users of the Yahoo Toolbar can grab an Answers button for it. Also, users can add a RSS feed that delivers questions and answers by search keywords, plus questions and answers made by the user, other users, and categories.

In the future, users who have joined the Yahoo Publisher Network will be able to receive cash rewards for their best answers to questions. That feature is still listed as "Coming Soon" in the My Q&A profile for users.


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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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