If you were in any doubt as to which way most of the big internet portals think search is going, Amazon has made it crystal clear; Askville, Amazon's new social search service, has launched into beta in competition with the likes of Yahoo Answers and Windows Live QnA. Since South Korean search engine Naver first showed the way to dethroning Google, social search has become a key battleground.
Cameron Marlow notes the main differences between Askville and the existing sites:
"Probably the most significant change is the flow of the question/answering exchange. In Yahoo! Answers, and elsewhere, answers are shown publicly as they are received; in Askville, answers are hidden to the public until 5 answers have been received. Any discussion or clarification can happen in a public message board attached to the question. After 5 answers have been collected, the group of asker and answerers vote and the whole thing is made public.
Askville rewards users with “coins,” a virtual currency that will be redeemable in another community named Questville slated for release in early 2007."
The most notable advantage Askville has over Windows Live QnA is the presence of a rewards system – not many people choose to work for free, which is why a Live Points system is a urgent requirement for QnA. Gold stars can only encourage users so much.
With Amazon's S3 taking the initiative over the yet to be released Live Drive, it will be interesting to see how Askville does against the more established QnA.
Cameron also has some Askville beta invites :)