Archive for the 'Answers Spotlight' Category

Spotlighting Google Answers Questions and Researchers

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

Google operated the Google Answers service for four-and-a-half years, and during that time regularly highlighted questions and researchers deserving of a moment in the spotlight.

Here, for posterity, are the questions which were awarded “Question of the week/month/quarter”:

“Safety of Helicopter/Plane Tour of Grand Canyon”

“Trade Magazines in Western Europe”

“13 Companies That I Need Information About”

“People Who Don’t Wear Jeans”


“Pay rates for Google Answers research”

Explanation of a Poem”

“Constitution vs Articles of Confederation”

TV Show: The Greatest American Hero”

“Harrison Ford testimony”

“Seeing Life from the Other Side”

“Camus and Quotation”

“After Dinner Toasts”

“Educator in jail setting needs information to pass on to those who qualify”

“Spatial Geometry, Physics, Mathematics”

“MMR vaccine and Autism”

“Men’s Typical Outfits in Ireland”

“Town Listed in Germany”

“Jason Project”

“Login Names (Like Pinkfreud)”

Economic Systems”

“Gravitational Forces”

“Animals that Communicate the Location of Food to Other Animals”

“Faces of Americans”

“How to Use This Site, and Get Answers?”

“Christmas Trees”

“New Years Traditions in United States”

“Algorithm for Optimization of Sheet Metal Cutting”

Translate German to English”

Making a Living”

“Cause, the Chemistry, and the Consequences of the Halifax Explosion”

“Parents Away From 3-yr Old For a Week – How Should We Handle It?”

“Russian Emigrees in Paris, 1920-1939”

Sewing Projects”

“Greenland Pool”

Drowning in a reorganization dilemma”

“Helen Keller”


“Captain Cook 18th Century Medals”



Here are the researchers who cheap car insurance quotes were awarded “Researcher of the week/month/quarter”:


secret901 -ga

A thousand questions

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

At Uclue we have just passed a major milestone – our first thousand questions. Actually, we now stand at 1017 questions including 911 funded questions, of which 640 have been answered.


It’s a big milestone for us, and it’s been a fascinating journey. Along the way we’ve discovered what kind of person you can hire to sort through your bills and get your finances in order, how to size I-beams for an overhead traveling crane, what to give to an architect who has everything, whether the middle name of Wayne is associated with criminality, the source of a painting from a distant memory, how much chocolate a young lady could buy for five shillings in 1925, how to calculate the foci of an eillipse, which are the worst organizational charts in the world, how to make a human hamster ball and a thousand and one other fascinating facts.

Researcher davidsarokin coined the term kiloclue to describe what is discovered in the process of answering a thousand questions. May Uclue generate many more kiloclues in the years to come!

Dinosaur Bob is missing (again!)

Friday, September 14th, 2007

Have you seen this dinosaur? It’s a plastic toy, about 4 inches (100mm) tall, with spring-loaded ‘hands’ that can grip onto things, and legs that swivel.


What’s so special about Dinosaur Bob? Carl Jensen has owned Dinosaur Bob since he was a child, and has photographed him in front of famous landmarks, in twenty-five US states and four countries. Carl is desperate to have Dinosaur Bob back, and has offered a generous reward.

Bob was lost earlier this month at the Galleria shopping mall in Henderson (near Las Vegas). If Carl can’t recover the original, he would be very happy to discover how he can get a replacement of the same design.

Bob has asked for help at Q&A service, without luck so far.

Actually, this isn’t the first time that Dinosaur Bob has gone walkabout. He also went missing in January 2005 during a flight from Chicago to Los Angeles. That time, Bob asked for help at Google Answers to no avail, but the Chicago Tribune picked up the story and a reader contacted Carl with a replacement.

Here’s hoping the story will have an equally lucky ending this time!

(PS: This Dinosaur Bob is not related to the one in William Joyce’s “Dinosaur Bob” book.)

Final count of GA questions answered

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

Here are the final counts showing how many questions were answered by each former GA researcher. I obtained them with Google searches using numeric ranges, to avoid the need to do much sorting. For example, all researchers who answered more than a thousand questions can be found with the following query: Researcher.Ratings.1-10.of.1000..9999

Researchers marked with an asterisk are answering questions at Uclue (as at 2 May 2007).

  • 3563 bobbie7-ga *
  • 2354 pinkfreud-ga *
  • 2056 juggler-ga *
  • 1748 pafalafa-ga *(davidsarokin)
  • 1805 tutuzdad-ga
  • 1564 scriptor-ga *
  • 1442 politicalguru-ga *(politamar)
  • 1325 easterangel-ga *
  • 1275 rainbow-ga *
  • 1148 hummer-ga *
  • 1140 justaskscott-ga
  • 1060 crabcakes-ga *
  • 859 answerfinder-ga *
  • 847 czh-ga *(sierra)
  • 824 tlspiegel-ga *
  • 779 umiat-ga *
  • 771 livioflores-ga *
  • 763 omnivorous-ga
  • 750 sublime1-ga *
  • 745 denco-ga *
  • 680 wonko-ga
  • 660 jackburton-ga
  • 649 websearcher-ga
  • 647 robertskelton-ga
  • 606 clouseau-ga *
  • 595 missy-ga
  • 552 journalist-ga *
  • 536 nenna-ga
  • 520 kriswrite-ga
  • 507 belindalevez-ga *(belevez)
  • 485 tar_heel-ga
  • 467 leli-ga
  • 451 serenata-ga, webadept-ga
  • 448 palitoy-ga *
  • 439 markj-ga
  • 438 tisme-ga
  • 424 tehuti-ga
  • 410 cynthia-ga *
  • 399 jbf777-ga
  • 388 maniac-ga
  • 384 leapinglizard-ga
  • 382 hedgie-ga, aceresearcher-ga
  • 375 richard-ga *
  • 359 aht-ga
  • 349 keystroke-ga *
  • 336 thx1138-ga
  • 334 knowledgeseeker-ga
  • 319 googlenut-ga
  • 306 larre-ga
  • 289 skermit-ga
  • 283 answerguru-ga
  • 266 mathtalk-ga
  • 252 digsalot-ga *(digs)
  • 246 elmarto-ga
  • 239 techtor-ga *
  • 225 mvguy-ga
  • 222 leader-ga
  • 205 efn-ga
  • 202 aditya2k-ga
  • 199 eiffel-ga *
  • 198 secret901-ga
  • 191 librariankt-ga
  • 188 taxmama-ga
  • 186 hammer-ga, feilong-ga *, tox-ga
  • 179 boquinha-ga
  • 169 joseleon-ga
  • 168 redhoss-ga *, darrel-ga
  • 166 mwalcoff-ga
  • 161 nellie_bly-ga
  • 159 byrd-ga *
  • 155 nancylynn-ga *(nancy)
  • 151 theta-ga
  • 150 willie-ga, ragingacademic-ga
  • 149 adiloren-ga, sgtcory-ga
  • 147 lot-ga
  • 146 welte-ga
  • 144 angy-ga *
  • 139 blader-ga
  • 136 hlabadie-ga
  • 128 siliconsamurai-ga, j_philipp-ga
  • 122 till-ga *
  • 121 guillermo-ga *
  • 117 luciaphile-ga
  • 113 weisstho-ga
  • 112 alanna-ga
  • 108 omniscientbeing-ga
  • 106 synarchy-ga
  • 104 seizer-ga
  • 101 endo-ga
  • 100 legolas-ga
  • 97 netcrazy-ga, bcguide-ga
  • 96 jeanwil-ga
  • 92 vercingatorix-ga
  • 91 hailstorm-ga
  • 90 revbrenda1st-ga, haversian-ga
  • 83 googleexpert-ga, emjay-ga, hibiscus-ga
  • 81 blazius-ga
  • 80 wengland-ga
  • 79 sycophant-ga, voila-ga, kyrie26-ga
  • 78 slawek-ga
  • 74 leep-ga
  • 73 ephraim-ga, snapanswer-ga, rico-ga
  • 71 errol-ga
  • 70 landog-ga
  • 69 kevinmd-ga
  • 67 rbnn-ga, peggy_bill-ga
  • 66 djbaker-ga, chellphill-ga, funkywizard-ga
  • 65 gregaw-ga, pwizard-ga
  • 64 hagan-ga, ericynot-ga
  • 63 chromedome-ga, shiva777-ga
  • 61 andrewxmp-ga
  • 60 xemion-ga
  • 58 johnny_phoenix-ga, paul_b_18-ga
  • 57 deadlychiapet-ga
  • 56 majortom-ga
  • 55 alexander-ga, kutsavi-ga
  • 54 scribe-ga
  • 53 mother911-ga *, joey-ga
  • 52 dogbite-ga
  • 51 seedy-ga
  • 50 calebu2-ga
  • 48 bethc-ga
  • 47 vinods-ga, researcher-ga, bookface-ga
  • 46 jdb-ga *(jdboyne), alienintelligence-ga, inquisitive-ga
  • 45 silviares-ga, ozguru-ga, nvwriter-ga
  • 44 brad-ga, rhansenne-ga
  • 43 blinkwilliams-ga
  • 42 huntsman-ga, drdavid-ga, claudietta-ga
  • 41 bikerman-ga, cerebrate-ga
  • 40 expertlaw-ga, rmn-ga
  • 39 rapidreference-ga, jem-ga
  • 38 iaint-ga, sidreamer-ga, prof-ga
  • 37 fons-ga, grimace-ga, historybuff-ga, googlebrain-ga, gitana-ga, supermacman-ga
  • 36 arimathea-ga, lisarea-ga, penguin-ga, shananigans-ga
  • 35 mother-ga, pm3500-ga, madsky101-ga
  • 33 fugitive-ga, not_you-ga, bio-ga, wlk115-ga
  • 32 aliciadenney-ga, wildeeo-ga, reeteshv-ga
  • 31 lotd-ga, colin-ga, chis-ga
  • 30 krobert-ga, mcfly-ga
  • 29 jeanluis-ga, skis4jc-ga, watershed-ga
  • 28 morris-ga, studboy-ga, voyager-ga, trailhead-ga
  • 27 bobby_d-ga, tippybuttons-ga, vitalmed-ga
  • 26 smudgy-ga *, rebeccam-ga, andyt-ga, davidmaymudes-ga, shivreddy-ga
  • 25 muhammad-ga, kapilr-ga
  • 24 jessamyn-ga, bitmaven-ga, roguedog-ga, cobrien-ga, jeremymiles-ga, pelican-ga, gwagner-ga
  • 23 filian-ga, bizguy-ga, google_answers-ga
  • 22 england_ali-ga, runix-ga, dscotton-ga, gan-ga, nauster-ga
  • 21 dannidin-ga, nealc-ga, samrolken-ga, mrbuzz-ga
  • 20 directrix-ga, gale-ga, arcadesdude-ga, sim-ga, morningstar2000-ga
  • 19 read2live-ga, katwoman-ga
  • 18 shal-ga, araminty-ga, nishka-ga, fsw-ga, duncan2-ga, cindy-ga, ukiguy-ga
  • 17 ldcdc-ga, maxhodges-ga, molloch-ga, rippo-ga, rcd-ga, mit-ga
  • 16 acorn-ga, mmi-ga, sparky4ca-ga, sabrina_j6-ga, blackbird-ga, leeann-ga
  • 15 bobcooper-ga, waggawa-ga, readersguide-ga, dewolfe001-ga
  • 14 jaq-ga, neurogeek-ga, josh_g-ga, actualwolf-ga, jab-ga, zrica-ga, mmastrac-ga, gleffler-ga, vorfeed-ga, surajambar-ga, mrlathwell-ga, wayga-ga, cyclometh-ga, brettquest-ga, libronaut-ga
  • 13 jumpingjoe-ga, rxrfrx-ga, lisaradha-ga, mantrac-ga
  • 12 axe-ga, izzard-ga, asking-ga, tj-ga, tomo-ga, lazerfx-ga, solutionpro_ga-ga, markoft-ga, rain-ga
  • 11 zerocattle-ga, firefly-ga, philip_lynx-ga, raisingmyhand-ga, waldo-ga, aresearcher-ga, xargon-ga, aardvark-ga
  • 10 var-ga, jeffyen-ga, sweetcaro333-ga, purplecat-ga, paultoon-ga, alisonscott-ga, seeker-ga, austin_trill-ga, lapin-ga, davebug-ga, jon-ga, dharbigt-ga, searchbot-ga
  • 9 pkp-ga, poe-ga, oracledave-ga, carwfloc-ga, mistajon-ga, torq-ga, abigayle-ga, passive-ga, thinkout-ga, timtom3-ga
  • 8 chris2002micrometer-ga, cjs2u-ga, ames-ga, notyou-ga, butler-ga, murphy-ga, bananarchy-ga, deepseep-ga, aziphirael-ga, gentryunderwood-ga, brightshadow-ga, skorba-ga, gopalkamat-ga, jenjerina-ga, lmnop-ga, playhosea-ga
  • 7 rosicrucianpope-ga, wellen-ga, cerebro-ga, musashidam-ga, dandrick-ga, antivirus-ga, eponine-ga, twitch-ga, liza-ga, daveslipp-ga, archamedesii-ga, stuartwoozle-ga, remoran-ga
  • 6 mechante-ga, bluesky-ga, loopaction-ga, webbob-ga, lrargerich-ga, boingo-ga, kinglouie-ga, resolutionman-ga, jasonm1-ga, koz-ga, alejandro-ga, morgenlandfahrer-ga, jes5199-ga, scottso-ga, indigoblue-ga, pmrozik-ga, csigirl-ga, diagonal-ga, nancydrew-ga, merle-ga
  • 5 jeeagle-ga, citizendaf-ga, chiflado-ga, frank-ga, rajeevsmind-ga, ibroker-ga, verteiron-ga, jmmjumarti-ga, rolnick-ga, romana-ga, westie-ga, d_p_lee-ga, caomhin-ga, gigi-ga, catherine-ga, ufphoenix-ga
  • 4 sweetblue44-ga, paulbeard-ga, coral-ga, nickyspag-ga, raa-ga, milamba-ga, quillreeves-ga, helpful1-ga, bizkiffer-ga, dumdumdiga-ga, pamela-ga, bizwhiz-ga, turnip-ga, dakur-ga, brotine-ga, jdog-ga, pinky-ga, dms-ga, lunabean-ga, masters-ga, mauigirl-ga, jjb-ga
  • 3 pgrote-ga, lunarloki-ga, jonathan-ga, phiguru-ga, walts, molszewski-ga-ga, saxifrage-ga, seans88-ga, meowcat-ga, omphaloskeptic-ga, pythagoras-ga, harrym-ga, phophet-ga, tan-ga, scholarman-ga, sa-ga, think-ga, google1-ga, poormattie-ga, petrossian-ga, boxcar-ga, unicow-ga, binhminh-ga, athena-ga, thefriendlylibrarian-ga
  • 2 iamchmod-ga, anonymous3141-ga, leslie-ga, ladyd-ga, wandrer-ga, lucason-ga, answerdude-ga, pudina-ga, eloise-ga, sabine-ga, tombiro-ga, iq-ga, cheeser-ga, songbird-ga, smileywiley-ga, writer89-ga, analogkid-ga, hudelei-ga, stwriley-ga, rapidresponse-ga, crys-ga, beckybob-ga, mplungjan-ga, 8ball-ga, rhoekmanjr-ga, jesusfreke-ga, sbmofo-ga, nutshell-ga, cheese-ga, j0e-ga, bobjanes-ga, webstock-ga, nocky-ga

All of the following researchers answered only one question each:

ajlnational-ga, allannah-ga, andy_uk-ga, anlon-ga, app_security-ga, arlenegreen-ga, arlyn-ga, azathoth-ga, bibliophil-ga, briani-ga, ctw-ga, david-ga, david_uk-ga, ddg-ga, dhale-ga, dynamo-ga, effman-ga, elijah-ga, funzone-ga, furcifer-ga, gnovos-ga, goniff-ga, gummi-ga, infoscout-ga, jama-ga, jamesa-ga, jbaltzell-ga, jchorush-ga, jdl-ga, jickster-ga, kencyber-ga, kf-ga, kristin-ga, librarianpro-ga, lkhforest-ga, margyl-ga, mikepake-ga, momerath-ga, neoxenos-ga, ostrau00-ga, phanatic4-ga, pjakobs-ga, rachaelref-ga, rmhultd-ga, robw-ga, scottw-ga, se-ga, soferet-ga, solomon-ga, stevern-ga, suzanne-ga, vik-ga, willisboyce-ga, windowswizard-ga, xsgnik-ga, wrynn-ga, waffle-ga.

And we may never know how many researchers were approved but never answered a question.

Google Answers Retrospective

Thursday, March 8th, 2007

It’s always fun to look back, and there are some truly amazing questions and answers at the now-closed Google Answers service (like How many Giraffes live in Canada).

Andy Czernek, who was omnivorous-ga at GA, has put together 365 Days of Google Answers, a daily calendar where he draws attention to an interesting question for every day of the year.

You can read the whole year at once, or savour a question every day. There are also some search tips and other useful snippets.

The long tail of Google Answers

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

Google Answers may be dead (sorry, “retired”), but some of its questions have taken on a life of their own. Prolific Google Answers customer and commenter probonopublico-ga tells this story in the GA Alumni Association group:

I had an amazing experience this week.

I had asked two questions on Google Answers last Sept/Oct about a man I believed to be an MI5 agent during the Thirties and Forties.

The Researcher (Answerfinder-ga) produced great answer including a name but (understandably) not his date of death which I needed in order to get a Death Certificate – which might have the effect of persuading the Home Office to open his file under the FOI.

His daughter had seen my questions and contacted Google Answers who refused to give her my details.

However, after Google Answers was ‘retired’ at the end of 2006, she found ‘the real me’ through this site and she then contacted me earlier this week via my own website.

Accordingly, I’ve now ordered a Death Certificate and she’s also giving me stacks of information about her Dad who’s a really interesting guy.

More than I could ever have hoped for!

Google Answers Reminiscences

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Researchers, customers and commenters (“peanuts”) are invited to post reminiscences related to the soon-to-be-defunct Google Answers service.

Did the service change your life? Perhaps it introduced you to new friends, or to a new lifestyle? Or perhaps you had a particularly memorable exchange in one of the questions … over to you …

A new paid research service?

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

Now that the Google Answers service is closing, some people are interested in developing a paid research service: similar in some ways – and different in some ways – from what the world has seen before.

How should it work? What features should it have? What could be really special about it? What would make it compelling for you?

Comments are welcome from everyone…

RIP Google Answers

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

Today is a sad day for Google Answers Researchers, customers and commenters – because Google has killed the service. The last questions can be posted tomorrow, and answers/comments will be closed off at the end of December.

The 23rd Psalm of Google, from researcher cynthia-ga:

Google is my Home Page; I shall not want.
Algorithm me fresh, unique results;
He leadeth me to the deep Internet.
He restoreth my Index.
He leadeth me via Adwords to richness, for Pete’s sake.

Yay! … though I surf through the Internet so quickly,
I will fear no evil, For Froogle doth lead me;
Thy Alerts and thy News, they comfort me.
Thou places Answers before me; without evil intent;
Thou annointest my eyes with Images; My brain filleth up.

Surely information shall lie before me, all the days of my life,
and I will mouse in the House of Google, forever.



(photo by Sparky)

Google Answers and a mystery from the past

Monday, October 16th, 2006

Pafalafa-ga noticed an interesting New York Times article entitled Daughter Seeks Sins of Father: Are There Any? It's an engaging story of Mrs Coffey, a 75-year-old who has niggling doubts about a murder that occurred after her late father was arrested for graft.

Whilst attempting to track down anything related to the incident, Mrs Coffey's trail went cold. Her son Bill then turned to Google Answers:

But then, at last, a breakthrough: With the help of a $200 inquiry on Google Answers, a Web site Mr. Coffey turned to for guidance, he discovered that Mr. Sebeks death certificate was tucked away in New Yorks municipal archives. Five weeks later, in April, a copy of the certificate arrived in Mr. Coffeys mailbox.

The mystery is still not completely solved, but thanks to politicalguru-ga's answer a few more clues were uncovered.