Yes, it’s Google, and yes, it’s similar to Yahoo! Answers, but the new Baraza site fills a major void in African web-space. Not only is there relatively little targeted African content, but typical African content that does exist often lacks value or focus. Now, with Baraza, not only can users search for targeted information, but they can also interact with others in a forum of sorts by posing and answering questions and surveys. Apparently there are already questions and answers from nearly every African nation – in both English and French.
To further encourage participation, users are rewarded with points (and can earn followers) for their questions and answers. Google provides the ability to easily track the actions of site users:
- It seems as if a few users (19 to be exact) have gotten caught up in the excitement of answering as many questions as possible. In a matter of weeks, these individuals have each answered upwards of 1,000 questions – often with extreme brevity and vagueness. It’s quality, not quantity that counts.
- At the same time, this manic group has answered nearly as many questions as it asked.
- Roughly 390 users appear to have asked questions and about the same number have answered questions.
- The answered-to-asked ratio is not easily determined.
Currently, the category rank list shows a healthy share of questions relating to the business, government, health, education, and mobile categories. Unfortunately, there is no way of classifying information on a country level other than by manual search. Hopefully this important feature will be added in the near future. A mobile site would be nice as well.
Also, kudos to Google for the well-thought test process which involved business, media, and health experts. The company is clearing trying to prevent the impression that it is implementing foreign methods toward uniquely African content.