Racing to Fill Gaps Left by Google

The race to build a successor to Web search is heating up as a number of young companies seek to fill gaps they see with Google Inc. (GOOG).

One of the hopefuls, Quora Inc., launched to the public Monday evening after months of private testing. The Palo Alto, Calif., company, co-founded by two early Facebook Inc. engineers, wants to collect and organize information people have in their heads but that may not be available online, such as background on the inner workings of a company and advice on how to get a reservation at an exclusive restaurant.

The service allows people to pose and answer questions–working behind the scenes to route questions to the users who can best answer them. People must use their real name on the site, and register by connecting their Quora accounts with a Facebook or Twitter account, which helps Quora connect them to people they know using the service.

“It really seems like a big opportunity to get all this stuff that isn’t on the Web onto the Web,” said Quora co-founder Charlie Cheever, who started the company with partner Adam D’Angelo in April 2009.

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