Google Answers


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Google Answers

A crowdsourcing venture from Google that began in 2002 and ended in 2006. Users would post questions and a fee they would be willing to pay for the answer, and Google retained 25% of the amount. Any of several hundred Google Answers Researchers (GARs) could answer the question. To qualify as a GAR, people had to fill out an application. Registered users could also comment on questions. See crowdsourcing.
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Google Answers allows an answerer to "lock" a question--obtaining the temporary exclusive fight to answer it for the following 4-8 hours (depending on question price).
If Google staff deem an answer unacceptably poor under Google Answers rules, the payment to answerer may be reversed.
Google Answers receives two kinds of payments for its efforts in facilitating matches between askers and answerers.
Google Answers questions may range in price from $2 to $200.
Answerer earnings include a few outliers, including one answerer who earned some $17,000 from Google Answers for providing more than 900 answers.
Second, some askers offer gratuities to their answerers--additional payments in no way required by Google Answers rules, for which askers receive no direct benefit.
Significant on-the-job learning is also present at Google Answers.
Google Answers does not directly report an answerer's prior experience: the site provides no mechanism to search an answerer's prior answers.
Answerer work time is unobserved even to Google and to the asker--for the answerer merely posts an answer into the Google Answers system, without explicitly reporting time spent on the task.
From the perspective of answerers, Google Answers at any instant provides a menu of opportunities--questions that could be answered to earn the payments offered by askers.
Within the Google Answers data analyzed here, less than half a million dollars bought answers to more than 24,000 questions.
Experience at Google Answers also informs design of a variety of other sites.