Today Facebook has released its question and answer service to around 1% of its userbase, or 5 million people. The product is a direct hit to all question and answer startups, Yahoo Answers, and in a small way, Google.
The product is 100% public, not partially as is the case with other Facebook services. You can ask a question from your status, making it a very simple product to begin using.
All questions are searchable, meaning that Facebook, starting now, is building a giant repository of information that people want and need. Will there be significant chaff? Of course, and poorly spelled chaff at that, but over the next months Facebook is going to answer tens of millions of questions, disrupting large swaths of the internet. The numbers that are to be considered with this service make it important from day one, which is today.
Will Quora, Mahalo, and the other companies that focus heavily on solving individual questions be able to survive this hit? From our previous coverage, the outlook is rather bleak. You just can’t compete against someone who owns the world’s eyes and offers them an integrated solution.
Are you going to use Facebook Questions? And even more, can you see it yet?