Monday, January 16, 2012

Beepl Promises Better Answers To Your Questions

Remember Quora? It was the social media darling of the moment when it debuted in 2010. The idea was simple enough: allow users to post questions for experts, than allow those same experts to post answers which would be graded for relevance by other users.

It has been somewhat effective at providing insight into how specific companies and individuals handle certain problems, but for general day-to-day use by average people, I don't think the idea has yet caught on.

First, if you have tried using Quora you already know how clunky the interface is and how difficult it is to figure out. Perhaps this is just my own ignorance, but if you are creating a tool for the masses you need to understand that not everyone is a tech genius; Some people actually have lives that don't involve understanding every nuance of social media.

Quora currently has more than a half million active users and its founders, Adam D'Angelo and Charlie Cheever (former Facebook employees) have been lauded for their site, were named by CNN as two of the smartest people in the tech industry by CNN and were listed among the top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs by inc.com.

Well, before you start thinking Quora is the be-all, end-all of question and answer sites (there are many) along comes Beepl.

Beepl is aiming to do much the same as Quora on through integration of information found on your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to direct you to the most relevant Q&A on the site.

Beepl uses "natural language processing and machine learning" to direct this information, which is different than any of the existing Q&A sites, including Quora.

However, I have a question: Why do we need Q&A sites? Who is using these sites to find answers to their question, instead of just typing the question into their search bar.

Do these sites provide some degree of insight into the minds of some of the tech world's movers and shakers? Of course. Is that insight relevant for the majority of us? I don't think so.

I believe despite the hype these Q&A sites are mostly a tool for use by a select few technology specialists who have an abundance of information that is too complicated to be widely dispersed. If you are a tech person you might stand to gain from posting your question directly to one of these sites or using them to find an answer you are looking for.

Or you could just query your existing social network and get an answer from someone you know who can provide information you can understand without the need for a dictionary.


3 comments:

Steve said...

"Or you could just query your existing social network and get an answer from someone you know..."

The problem is that most people don't have a large enough social network to query for a lot of topics. That's where Beepl comes into play: we re-route your questions to users who are most able to answer them. And we've tried to keep the site dead-simple to use too.

Jerry Battiste said...

Fair enough. You certainly have an edge when it comes to ease of use!

Steve said...

Thanks Jerry.