Quora is an interesting looking service, providing a fairly straightforward question and answer platform. It’s been in closed beta for a while, but now has been unleashed onto the public at large.
It’s all about capturing the activity we all do on sites like Twitter: asking questions, giving answers, and researching topics online. Quora adds to this activity by turning it into a searchable and collaborative archive:
Quora is a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it. The most important thing is to have each question page become the best possible resource for someone who wants to know about the question.
Part of the reason for some of the hype around Quora is the fact that it has been founded by a bunch of people involved in Facebook’s early days. They know how to build a decent web app.
TechCrunch have a decent write-up, with a warning of a potential problem now the site is public:
Their biggest challenge is about to begin. Quora has generated attention not just because of its slick interface, but because of the extremely high quality of its answers up until this point — it isn’t unusual for someone to ask a question and have it answered by a top expert in the field within a matter of hours (or less). Likewise, questions about various Internet companies often attract answers from longtime employees. The big question now is whether or not Quora will be able to maintain that quality as it deals with an influx of new users.
I’ve signed up, and you can find me here. Will be fascinating to see how this works out.
Update: writing this reminded me about Formspring, which hasn’t really taken off for me. Quora differs because it is based on subjects and issues rather than individuals. My Formspring page is here.