Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Facebook Redesigns Questions Product Around Friends' Advice

Facebook today relaunched its Questions product, which had been in a limited beta since last summer. The product now focuses on asking for friends’ opinions and recommendations, with answers ordered in a poll format. It is much more of a social search tool than before, when the product seemed a Quora-style aggregator of knowledge and expert opinions.

The new Questions has been built to spread throughout networks of friends, unlike the last version, which was only available to pockets of beta testers. Users can still ask open-ended questions on the service if they want to, but Facebook will mostly highlight requests for advice from friends in users’ feeds.

All questions are still public, and answers by all users to the same question are listed on the same page. However, each user gets a personalized view of the responses, ranked by what their friends voted. Respondents only have to check a box to participate in the poll themselves, and information about a movie or restaurant can be quickly included by linking to its Facebook page.

The current version of Facebook Questions is much more differentiated from Quora than the previous one, which had in many ways resembled the Q&A site founded by former Facebookers. In fact, Quora explicitly disallows polls.

The original Questions had a particularly rocky product launch, with lots of initial bugginess and a slow roll-out.

The new version is to be available much more broadly (though right now available only in English), Facebook said. Users can get access to the beta by opting in at Facebook.com/questions.

Please see the disclosure about Facebook in my ethics statement.


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