"Why are yawns contagious?" was the first question on Yahoo ! Answers to get a reply from the public, back in December 2005 and it seems there was no bore there as the company announced at the beginning of this week its billionth hit.
The lucky billionth reply was for: "What laptop part can I replace to speed up my pc?"
The service has rolled out in 9 languages across 21 countries since its launch and has climbed to the enviable position of most popular Q&A site on the web.
Key figures as provided by the company are impressive, here's the maths:
823,966 Q&As per day...
i.e. 34,331 per hour or 572 per minute
... equating to 10 Q&As EVERY second
Yahoo answers also supplements results to Ask.com's Q&A service.
Yahoo Answers is the first search engine to uniquely target the question format search query. Anyone can ask a question and answers are crowdsourced by the community. The idea is that users are given the chance "to be a hero" for someone else by providing the answer the other needed. Community members get rated for providing the best answers. Community members win points and levels for their participation to win badges and a chance to feature on the community leaderboard.
However now 'Q&A search' is re-emerging as a hot topic following the success of massive microblogging communities and maturity of the semantic web. New players on the scene include Aardvark.com, a Q&A search engine, aims to 'tap the knowledge in your network' and Wolfram Alpha, a computational search engine, aims to answer complex questions such as "what is the GDP of USA, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand?" by calculating mathematical, scientific and academic data in the public domain.
I have to say, I found my favorite Yahoo Answers post on a list of the "quirkiest" questions: How far east can you go before you're heading west?
What's yours ?
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