Facebook has released a new version of its Question service as a public, limited beta, currently available only in English, after testing it for more than year. Quora and Yahoo Question and Answers already leads the multitude of websites that provide public answers to public questions but Facebook’s service lets members get answers directly from friends. Current testers will be the first to get access to the new Questions feature, and this will automatically be given to their friends as well.
Facebook argues that there are many places where one could put a question out before the general population, but not many that focus on responses provided from friends. Posted questions are public but Facebook provides a personalized view, listing responses according to how their friends voted with a focus on their friends’ answers.
Members are allowed to use the service to post open ended questions but their news feed will emphasize questions that ask friends for advice. After a response to the question is posted, users can leave their own reply or check a box to indicate agreement with answers.
A Facebook spokesman said in a statement Questions started after it noticed how often, when someone updated their status with a question, their friends would reply in the comments, so it began exploring how to make this interaction more helpful. “Over the summer we began testing Questions with a small group of people, and today we are rolling it out for everyone.”
Members who want to opt in to Questions now without waiting for their friends to invite them can do so here.