This acquisition has been rumored for some time now, but RWW says they got confirmation today. The price is still unknown but the guesses seem to be at around $50M, up from the earlier $30M.
This is a great move on Google’s part. Now they have an innovative approach to Q&A which gives them a whole different kind of search. Given that Aardvark only had about 100k users in 10/09 it shows how strategic the investment is.
But it’s not the only sign that Google is focusing more on Q&A. As I posted earlier, they are also testing Q&A specific search in their search options.
Why This Focus on Q&A?
At the risk of repeating myself, it’s because Q&A has been, is, and will be one the primary forms of content/communication on the Internet. It has traditionally been buried in forums where it has been the “dark matter” of the Internet – i.e. there’s more of it than anything else, but it’s hard to find. Now we here about a new Q&A site almost every day. Instead of the haphazard unstructured forum, we now have a highly structured, easy to discover, easy to navigate Q&A structure.
There’s Nothing More Social than a Question
Social media is all the rage now, but how much of it is really social. Isn’t Twitter largely the new RSS? I follow people and read their mini-soapbox commentary on their likes and dislikes. Is talking non-stop really social? Most things we call social are really just opinion broadcasting.
People who are really social do two things:
1. They actually interact with other people (beyond repeating what they just said as an RT)
2. They ask questions. They tease out the opinions of others.
So, when it comes to being social, Q&A is unique. It begins with a question and people who offer their opinions or facts as answers are helping. There are no unsolicited opinions in Q&A.
So, good for Google. They are exploring avenues that are truly social while sticking to the thing they do best – getting answers for people.