Monthly Archives: January 2006

Yahoo! Answers

Yahoo Answers has been shut down

I’ve been trying out the recently launched Yahoo Answers! service. It works on a point system. If you ask a question, you lose a couple of points. If you answer a question, you gain points and you get additional points if your answer is rated as the best answer. This guards against people abusing the service by asking question after question and not giving anything back to the community. It looks like eventually you will be able to earn money (probably not a lot) by answering questions. This requires applying for a Yahoo! Publisher Network ID.

The quality of the answers that I have received has been mixed but I’m going to continue using this from time to time. I’d really like to see this model succeed. I think there is also a place for this type of service in the business world. Companies pay an arm and a leg for yearly maintenance from software companies. It’s a real racket. A business version of this could have a category for Enterprise Software and categories for different software packages – Siebel, SAP, Oracle, etc. Freelance support engineers who have expertise with these software packages could answer the questions and be compensated financially. In this case it would make sense for the person (or company) asking the question to compensate the person who answered the question – e.g. $10 for a simple question and higher dollar amounts for questions that are more critical or more urgent (the company would need to be able to set the price for the question and maybe define a timeline for that price – e.g. $100 for an answer within 30 minutes, $50 for an answer within an hour, etc.). So instead of paying a software company $25,000 per year for maintenance and support, they could farm out their support to an army of freelance tech support people. It would be a massive Help Desk organized by categories. The quality and consistency of the support might be inconsistent but I would bet that it would be a heck of a lot cheaper in the long run. And this could be a nice way of earning extra cash for people who have expertise in some field.

Google Video UI First Impression

Google shut down Google Video in 2012 because of its acquisition of YouTube.

I took a quick look at Google Video and my first impression was not great. Notice on the Charlie Rose videos that there is no show topic displayed when your are in “Grid” view. You just see the date of the show and a thumbnail of Charlie Rose. You need to go to the “List” view to see a description of the show. While this is a minor issue, I would have expected Google to catch something like this before they launch the paid video service. First impressions are everything. Another thing: Notice how the upload date of the video is displayed next to the running time of the show. For these shows, the upload date appears to be Dec 25, 2005 (hmmmm, someone at Google was working on Christmas). As a consumer, I really don’t care about when the video was uploaded. On the positive side, I really like that any content provider can sell video on Google and the content provider can set the price. These capabilities are not available on iTunes yet.

More bad first impressions here.

1/19/2005 Update:

David Pogue from the New York Times takes a look at the Google Video Marketplace.

“According to Google, the current Google Video is a beta test, a dry run intended to solicit feedback and suggestions for improvement. That’s fortunate, because at the moment, the site is appallingly half-baked. Quarter-baked, in fact.”

1/26/2005 Update:

Google admits that their video service has “fallen far short” of competing services such as iTunes. More here.

Here’s the List view, which does show a description of the show.