Google is adamant on accelerating work on its Google+ social network. By doing so, the company has already stepped on people’s toes. An upcoming Q&A feature from Google does not seem to be aimed squarely at Quora, a popular question-and-answer website, but the Quora people understandably cann0t be too happy about this development. See, according to VentureBeat, the search company is trying out a new capability called “Ask on Google+” allowing you to ask friends about the topics you are searching for. It is akin to Facebook Questions, with one huge advantage: One accesses it easily at the bottom of one’s search results:
Click the link to ask your friends any question related to restaurants, movies, how to make friends on Google+, or other topics. Your question will automatically be posted to your Google+ stream for your friends to answer.
Granted, it is nowhere near as complete as Quora and it lacks the basic component, a Q&A engine. In its current implementation, asking stuff on Google+ from your search results simply puts up an overlay window with a pre-populated Google+ post related to your search query. For example, if I were searching for “2012 Android smartphones,” clicking the “Ask on Google+” link would create the “Hi there! I have a question about 2012 Android smartphones…” message. You can edit the message, select your audience, or add a location, photo, video or URL. The folks with whom you shared the message will not be able to select from custom choices like with Facebook Answers. Still, it certainly does not mean crowd-sourcing answers from your Google+ friends will not take some allure off Quora and similar services— quite the contrary.
Hardly any companies are able match Google’s ability to tie Google+ features to the dominant search engine and other popular web properties such as Gmail, Picasa and others. In this regard, anything and anyone should be worried indeed. Do not get us wrong, Quora is a popular service, but a question arises as to why folks would continue using it if Google+ provides similar capabilities enriched with integrated Google+ profiles, automatic posts and other perks? Nevertheless, according to a spokesperson for the Mountain View, Calif.-headquartered Company, Google is “experimenting” with the new feature at this stage. No word yet when and if “Ask on Google+” might roll out to all users, but we have a feeling it will be sooner than later.