August 10, 2010 – During a time when it seems everyone is trying to automate every process possible, is human-answering the majority of its questions with a real live community. brought this news to our attention in their article, “ Asks: Is It Finally Time for Human-Answered Search?” The long-admired search engine reinvented itself last week. Now no longer a purely algorithmic search, has shifted into a human-powered question-and-answer service, joining a handful of like-minded competitors.

It seems that like so many other Web tools, Ask’s potential lies in how it can be used to leverage other services. With their construction of the “community” that provides the answers, Ask may have a better shot at success because of its brand recognition and its legacy in search. If members are answering questions, not paid employees, then they become increasingly involved in the community. Engagement by users goes a long way to loyalty.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.