One of the rare services that Google (Google reviews) was forced to shut down was Google Answers. Perhaps they anticipated that it was a battle they could not win because getting quick answers to your questions is easier than ever – on Twitter (Twitter reviews). You can, of course, just ask the question, but we’ve found five sites that try to add some structure to the process, and checked out if they’re worth your time.
This simple site searches Twitter for phrases such as “does anyone know?” and “why does?” and collects them all at one place. There’s an option to answer the questions and a list of popular terms; unfortunately, the site doesn’t list answers anywhere, which makes it a lot less useful than it could be.
By far the most elegant of the sites listed here, ToAnswer lets you ask questions on Twitter by simply prefixing them with @toask. The answers are displayed in a nice Twitter-like interface, and questions are asked through a lightbox-style window that opens with your Twitter account. The problem, however, is lack of answers, which means that the community hasn’t really noticed it yet.
TwttrStrm is an interesting and slightly more complex service that combines Twitter with Squidoo and its “lens” approach to answering questions. Basically, you ask a question on Twitter, but instead of merely getting short answers, Squidoo will create a brand new Lens with a bunch of information on the topic you’ve asked about. The Lens can include latest tweets, but also images, Amazon shopping links and various other types of content. Compared to other sites on the list, TwttrStrm is definitely something else, and it can be used in a lot of different, creative ways; for merely getting some quick answers, though, there may be better alternatives out there.
There are many ways to ask a question; a poll is one of them, and twtpoll lets you create polls on Twitter. You ask a poll question, add some answer options (you can choose if it’s a one answer or multiple answers type of poll) and you’re done. You can share the poll via Twitter, email or Facebook (). On the site, you can browse through the most popular and recent polls, and every poll is available on a unique link, with a nice accompanying graph. The site also offers an upgrade to the standard service, which lets you brand your poll page; the price for the upgrade is up to you; choose any amount and send it to the site creators.
twitQA is a very new site that lets you ask questions in different categories such as sports, travel, health, business & finance, cars and the like. Instead of using hashtags, twitQA recognizes questions and fetches them directly from the Twitter feed, which makes populating the question database easier. The interface design, however, won’t win any awards, and I’m afraid it’s going to drive many potential users away.