Answers.Yahoo.com.. is it Web2.0? Web3.0? or Online Consultancy? Answers here..

This may be my first blog on web20 on my own blog, even though I have written about it considerably in other places like our own infy groups. Web 2.0, which is just the "facade" for new techniques of experience on web, encompasses almost anything which u see and which fanatises u. For example, if you can voice clips over net which u weren’t doing before (Google Talk).. BINGO! you just met one web20 feature! Now you can share videos and watch them anytime anywhere without even bothering to download them on ur desktop (Youtube! (now Google's) .. why? because what’s the point wasting my own space for those videos when those rich people r doing for me? or.. if you can make smart documents (so called word doc) for free on web.. why to buy office at all??? that too.. with advantages of accessing the software as well as documents "anytime, anywhere"!!! Now there is no reason to buy a laptop.. because ur anything personal.. is already there :)

anyway.. lets be back to the original topic.. and lets stick to it.. is "Yahoo Answers!" also web 2.0? Lets see, why and why not!

well I've seen yahoo answers pretty long back when It was launched.. initially it was weird to see the tag "get answered by experts for free!".. and what kind of questions? just any.. be it extreme technical like "how exactly you solve gravitation al equations" to lamest one like "how do I make HOT WATER???" (that was good!).. be it anything in your mind and get it clarified by people who are online 9initially i suppose answer capabilities were limited to some 'hidden folks' but now its open..)..

..sounds strange but so did WikiPedia.com.. but now nobody questions Wikipedia for its a huge success.. in online wiki, people create their own terms or words, define in their own way, and it 'saturates' by involving more and more people around that term who understands it well.. now for example, if you want to define "gravity", you'd write its definition, but that’s not enough! Someone knows its formula and would put it too.. someone would put its history and someone else would put its applications like rocket science.. someone would also put profiles of scientists who have worked around gravitational problems.. and then it completes the definition..

..sounds pretty simple as long as things go well.. but what about unwell things? what if people put their "sexed ads" in there? or what if people start fighting over Darwin's theory of evolution in there? but strangely, it works, and it works coherently with all kinds of views or definitions of the same topic in the world!!!

Okk.. lets be back to the topic again and yes lets stick to it.. well wiki defines just a term.. like "Aishwarya Rai".. but what about questions like "Who is more beautiful, aish or sush"? Essentially these are sentences which relates two or more terms in some manner to create understanding of some concept.. but they are infinite, isn’t it? How many questions does a human being have in his life? Infinite.. for sure..

Yahoo Answers, strangely attempts to address a similar issue (or may be to find out the "limit" to the infinity of questions :P).. it tries to incorporate people to share "all kinds of phrases" which occur in their mind in form of 'questions' and also to share 'all kinds of answers' to those questions by them itself! Does that sound anything close to working?

Lets see if people are even interested in putting questions, let alone wanting for the answers.. to put figures straight.. 65 millions+ answering millions of questions are already up there.. I'm sure many of them are repeating.. many not even worth to have look.. many are personal or psychological types which might make you feel sick.. some are asking for good medicines (you may say they are doing online consulting here for doctors!!!).. it kicked of as fun place but now its seriously having some quality and useful stuff which people look up to..

in short, "Helpdesks have been Unified"..

Almost every company or system has a Helpdesk but believe me, except none all goes backfired by people with their bad quality of answers.. most would leave you pissed off or unnecessarily complicate your problem instead of solving them.. many times you'd yourself guide them to solve your query as they didn't know any answer!!! Here, at Yahoo Answers, you find all of them under one umbrella.. that is, no matter what your problem is, let people listen to your problems and let them help you with the "actual" experience they had instead of what is written in the "papers".

I personally see Yahoo Answers as extremely successful web2.0 application, except that it does not have those "Flashy" or "Ajaxy" RIA stuff.. but it has the power to create questions in their mind.. and belief that they would be answered.. actually, with my following discussion, you may rate Yahoo Answers! as "first potential contender" for Web3.0 .. keep reading..

well.. what about "Archives"? Now that Yahoo Answers have millions of questions and answers, what do we do with archives? Are they Trash material? Or they are like "Yesterday News is stale and unhealthy to read?" How do people look for what they want which might have been already answered! How do people search for questions? How do people search for answers? Can Google/yahoo search do it? Answer is, NO!

when I was talking about "terms" described in wiki and "phrases" described in Yahoo Answers, you might have guessed I'm silently moving from "meanings of words" to "meanings of phrases or sentences".. Even though Wiki might be having huge information around definitions, it does not have much information around how these terms combine to generate answers to problems.. And in real world (sounds like moving from assumed 2-D world to real 3-D world), people have problems in sentences and not a single term.. so if we want to actually mobilize information in wiki in our day-to-day work, we need to have portal like Yahoo Answers, where these terms aggregate to produce knowledge as solutions than just "for your information"..

Now that Yahoo already has a strong base of semantically generated useful data, its a challenge to converge them under suitable taxonomy (or may be just tagged with "suitably weighted" tags).. to define correct data-structure to store this valuable information in order to enable semantic searches.. good thing is data is pretty refined in its nature.. its in form of questions and answers which have their domain pretty much defined and hence they are less vague than contents like "for your information"..

Once this is done, certainly yahoo answers would be the place to look answer for any kind of question which might even pop-up in our dreams but we wanted the answer LIVE!

5 comments:

  1. Sexy article man!!!
    So lucid, so interesting. I really loved it. Expecting more of such articles in near future.
    Keep rocking n bloging.

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  2. dude thanks.. btw when is ur blog expected to come over web??? jaldi kar bhai.. waiting.. :)

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  3. It is worth debating if Answers.Yahoo.com is it Web2.0 or 3.0.....but it sure is useful. And if it is useful, well, users are going to continue to visit.

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  4. Hi.. great to see you here.. for answers.yahoo.com being web20 "or" web30, I think instead of "or" its an "and" factor that answers.yahoo.com is web20 and If web30 too (may be or may not be).. atthe bottom line I assumed all web30 stuff automatically qualifies for web20 inherently..

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  5. Interesting post Saurabh. Defintely gives another dimension to the entire thought process
    Cheers
    Vaibhav

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