Google Answerers, a tally

Now that Google Answers is no longer an active project it’s easy to use Google itself to do some tabulating of who was actually doing what there. Using a pretty simple query the folks over at Web Owls have compiled a list of roughly how many questions each Google Answer Person answered. You can see me way down the list at 24. What’s interesting, to me, is how few people worked for such a high profile project, and how few people answered the bulk of all the questions to Google Answers. Interestingly, almost 40 of them are working over at Uclue which seems to have almost the same structure externally speaking as GA did.

5 thoughts on “Google Answerers, a tally

  1. Hi Jessamyn,

    Thanks for your interest in Uclue. Just one minor detail – there are 37 former GA Researchers at Uclue, not 200. However, they include the majority of the prolific researchers.

    One interesting difference that might strike a chord with you is that Uclue researchers are able to freely write and talk about their experiences.

    Roger Browne
    (eiffel at Uclue, eiffel-ga at GA)

  2. Jessamyn, thanks for this item. I didn’t know about Uclue!

    Here’s something I wrote for the Boston Globe about Google Answers back in November 2002:

    The cook, she’s name was Rosie / She cam’ from Mo’real / and was a chambermaid on a lumber barge / in the Grand Lachine Canal,” sings Rob Rexler, protagonist of Saul Bellow’s 1995 story “By the St. Lawrence.” He abruptly falls silent, and Bellow explains why: “Rexler had more than once thought of opening an office to help baffled people who could remember only one stanza of a ballad or song. For a twenty-five dollar fee you would provide the full text.”

    Recent developments at the Internet search-engine company Google indicate that it was probably wise of Rexler to keep his day job. Last week saw the launch of Google Answers, a service which matches up baffled people with Google’s freelance cadre of “carefully screened Researchers.” When Ideas submitted Rexler’s query on Oct. 31, Researcher “Pinkfreud” turned up the full text of the dialect-poem-turned-folksong “The Wreck of the Julie Plante” within the hour.

    The tune was put to wax in 1923 by Jimmy Rice, we learned – although Bellow may have had Nelson Eddy’s radio version in mind. Total price: two dollars, plus a 50-cent service charge.

  3. Thanks Roger, I must have counted asterisks wrong. Thanks for the extra info, I fixed the post.

  4. Several studies have indicated that most of Wikipedia is produced by a small number of volunteers. My experience there makes me think that this is probably true. Wikipedia’s “vast network” of volunteers are mostly people who edit things back and forth.

    I run several wikis myself and have found that a few people can do lots of collaborative work together. What’s interesting is why more people don’t contribute and participate. My theory is that Americans have little experience working collectively with other people. The projects that show off the DIY nature of the Internet, like Myspace, tend to rely on the self-interest of its participants.

  5. Thanks for the post – good to see the list of past Google Answer researchers as well as learn about UClue. I miss Google Answers so look forward to trying UClue.

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