An article from BBC Online, The future of facts, takes a brief look at information quality and authority issues on the open web and then discusses what a couple of companies are doing about it.
The article mentioned is Kozoru, a product being developed in the U.S. that we blogged about here. This post also contains a mention of GuruNet.
Also mentioned in the article is Smart Search technology from Ask Jeeves and Ask Jeeves UK. You can see Smart Search in action when you search for newsmakers/celebrities, want to know who won an Oscar, or need basic links/info for a specific location. Unlike the "old Jeeves" where question and answer sets were built by humans, most of this is done by automated mining specialty databases. Instead of just providing links to possible answers we're seeing actual answers given (mined from "trusted" sources) or direct links to focused sites. This way the searcher is not only saving time but also being directed to quality material similar to how a good librarian might suggest a specific reference resource. One of the five laws of libray science (yes, laws exist) is to "save the time of the reader." In some ways Smart Answers is doing this for the web searcher.
Finally, 82ask.com is mentioned. This is a UK based service that answers questions via SMS. We blogged about another SMS service here.