Monday, January 03, 2005

Answers.com launches

Gary Price reports on the launch of Answers.com, a new service from GuruNet.

It's interesting. It's a metasearch engine that hits a series of specialized databases to try to answer your question. From their about page:
    We've collected authoritative facts in Answers.com by licensing top-quality reference work to give you concise, relevant information on each of over a million topics. We handpicked reference from publishers such as Houghton Mifflin, Columbia University Press, Merriam Webster, Computer Desktop Encyclopedia, Inlumen, Investopedia and Who2 (just to name a few)...
It's more focused than a web search engine and sometimes more useful.

Try some searches on it. For example, ask Answers.com, "What is a blog?" "What is a tsunami?" "Who is Jeff Bezos?"

At a time when some are talking about how big they can make their search index, it's interesting to see the opposite approach, focusing on a few, specialized, high quality data sources. Sometimes less is more.

Update: Apparently, Google is experimenting with using Answers.com instead of Dictionary.com for word definitions.

Update: Google has switched over to Answers.com for all word definitions.

Update: Walter Mossberg at the WSJ has an interesting and well-written review of Answers.com.
    Answers.com is ... a start toward a new search paradigm where the object is to provide real instant information, not just links to pages where that information may, or may not, be found.
[via Emergic and David Jackson]

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Would anyone really leave a general purpose search engine to use answers.com? The information available is not very comprehensive (they did not have anything on 'text categorization'). I'd say Wikipedia is richer. The content they have would be more useful for augmenting results of a general purpose search engine.

Besides, most people would rather type "Britney Spears" than "Who is Britney Spears"