I signed up and was accepted into the beta program for Facebook Questions. It’s a lot like Yahoo! Answers, except of course it is integrated with your social network (well Yahoo! has a social network thing too, I forget what is called now that Yahoo! 360° is dead). I don’t think the concept is revolutionary or even evolutionary, it’s just that Facebook has the critical mass to make it popular and successful.
To get into the program, you need to answer 3 questions in a non-spastic/crazy manner. Oh and you get to pick your own questions too! Here are the 3 that I answered:
Why is it necessary for the web to have multiple search engines?
The existence of multiple search engines provide competition which in turns spurs growth and innovation.
When there are multiple search engines on the market, each search engine is in a competition to gain and maintain users. In order to achieve this goal, a search engine has to provide additional value to end users beyond what their competitors can provide. This can be through a variety of means such as by being able to search more sources, or having a better understanding of the goals of the user. One example is when Microsoft Bing launched, they integrated a travel tab to provide searchers with quick travel information in order to accelerate the process of booking travel (source). This innovation targeted travelers using search engines and improved the user experience for those users.
If there was only a single search engine, there is no need for the search engine to continually improve its offering. The feature set and functionality may become stagnant for the end user. By having multiple search engines, a competitive environment can be fostered resulting in a larger feature set for the web searcher.
How is Foursquare different than other web/mobile applications?
Foursquare (http://foursquare.com/) is a mobile application where users can ‘check-in’ into real world locations and share this data with a user-defined set of friends. I consider Foursquare different due to the combination of the following reasons:
1) It is quite popular, having over a million users worldwide (source).
2) It is one of the first mobile applications that programatically extracts a user’s physical location.
3) Incorporated a social aspect and friends list
4) Incorporated a game aspect (e.g., badges and points)
Currently and in the past, there have been web/mobile applications that are either popular (e.g., Twitter or Facebook), or used a user’s physical location and had a social aspect (e.g., Gowalla, Dodgeball) but none of have combined all of these aspects. I consider Foursquare different because it has become successful while combining all of these elements.
If you had a choice of sleeping in in the morning, or getting to work on time, which should you choose?
I think it’s more important to get to work on time, but I do like to sleep in as well. How I get around this difficult choice is by getting as many things prepared for work as I can the night before. That means packing my lunch, figuring out what I’m going to wear, preparing breakfast and packing my work bag before going to sleep. Then, the next morning I can enjoy another 10 minutes of sleep before I have to wake up and go to work!