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Is Google Baraza A Test Drive For A New Google Q&A Product?

Google Blogoscoped pointed our attention to Google’s Baraza, a Yahoo-Answers-like Q&A site for Africa. The expressed rationale behind Baraza is that it will help generate “local content” across the continent.

There’s a relatively elaborate point system (a “currency”) used to pay for answers and as a reward for participation otherwise. Because it’s globally available in English we’re likely to see broad participation from outside of Africa in Baraza.

The more interesting question in my mind is whether this will become a model for a larger Q&A effort at Google. The company course owns social search/Q&A site Aardvark, which it hasn’t done much new with as far as I can tell. I did think I saw a LivePerson-like implementation of Aardvark for AdWords support but now I’m unable to find the page.

Google offered an early Q&A service (paid) in Google Answers, which was shuttered after the rise of the free Yahoo Answers. There are numerous sites and services (at least 10), including Facebook and Quora, that offer “social search” or Q&A functionality. None have emerged as a replacement for traditional search or really lived up to the promise of human Q&A otherwise.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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