Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Unfulfilling Experience

This morning at work, I spent the majority of my time making phone calls and playing "phone-tag" with a couple companies to try to finish a project that was started before I even came to work for this department. As I was working, I came across a service from Yahoo that I had never seen before: Yahoo! Answers.

This seems like a great service and I found myself able to answer quite a few questions, mainly in the technology section. I noticed that I was earning points for simply answering questions. I kept myself busy with this for about 20 minutes and decided to check in to what was the purpose of these points. I found myself very disappointed in the fact that the points were used to be able to ask questions through the service! What is the purpose of that?!?!

The Internet is packed with forums for just about every subject you could possibly think of, so why is Yahoo! trying to cash in on this service? This is not meant as plug for Google, but it could be, but I resort to Google every time I need to search something on the Internet (usually 15-20 times daily). My search with questions about concepts always leads me to some great sources, whether they be blogs (a personal goal of my own to be visible [pinged] on a Google Search), forums and/or official websites. I have no problem with Yahoo!'s service, but Google search is just better and more efficient for the purpose that I use it. I am not alone in this area I know!

It seems as though Google is promoting open-source to fullest extent whereas Yahoo! is trying to create programs for users to use but not modify. The most successful companies on the Internet (i.e. Google, Wikipedia, etc.) are open-source companies that allow people to modify and enhance the code that is used to make a better product for the users. In this, people are developing and choosing what they want in their Internet experience rather than a company saying, "This is what we are offering, hope you like it because there is nothing you can do about it."

Open source is great! It inspires creativity and hopefully, in some people, inspires them to go out, buy a book and learn a new way to be helpful to others through technology. Yahoo! seems to be headed in the wrong direction with this service of Yahoo! Answers by limiting the ability to ask questions to requiring answers first. Granted that you get 100 points to start to ask questions, but since when has the ability of asking questions ever been restricted to a point system? Humans are curious and that is why we are where we are today so why restrict the ability to ask a question to the number of points you have?

Don't get me wrong, this service is probably helpful to some, but it is just disturbing to see a backwards trend for Yahoo! and the user. Go out and search a forum or a blog and get a wide array of answers and personal experience answers from the original source!

Have a great day!

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