Heard of Google Answers? Well, it IS somewhat obscure but you may have noticed it when Google Search fails to turn up any search results for a particular term. In this you ask a question, set a price and a deadline, and the question is answered by a Google Researcher. Period. But the interface is pretty boring, true to Google’s style and the whole concept of paying for answers doesn’t sound very inviting.
Enter Yahoo! Answers (still in beta stage) which plans to change all that. The interface is much more colorful and cheery, just the thing you want after tearing your hair strands apart after not being able to find out what you are searching for. Its a free service right now, and is community-focused. Users ask a question, and it gets answered by other users. After a period of time the answer facility closes and users vote for the best answer. The answer getting the highest vote wins and the question is said to be ‘resolved’.
The site is divided into far more categories than Google’s service and also has subcategories, so you can quickly get to the questions you want. Ask your own question or discover answers to already answered ones.
The Y! Answers community is a pretty active one and the answers are pretty accurate and relevant (as far as I have noticed). Soon, it will also offer cash to users with the best answer, but you need a Yahoo! Publisher Network Account for that.
Also, an innovative concept here is points and levels. Each time you vote, answers, ask or simply visit Y! Answers, you get points. After certain threshold points, you get promoted to the next level. As you advance through different levels, you get awards like a special thank-you, get featured on the main page, etc.
What I like about Y! Answers is that it doesn’t try to be too serious like Google Answers, it maintains a cheery mood throughout yet inspires enough confidence in the users to trust the answers. All the questions are not serious, some are definitely fun.
So if you have a question that’s been vexing you in your sleep, go ahead and get it answered!