Thursday, November 30, 2006

Google Unplugs Their Answering Machine For Good

Mountain View, CA--One of Google's longest running services, Google Answers, was abruptly shut down today after a four-year run on the popular searching site.

The service offered trained "researchers" who would seek out answers to burning questions submitted by users willing to pay Google for the same service that any public library gladly provides free of charge. The questions usually ranged from "how do I know if I am pregnant," to the even more challenging "what do I do if I am pregnant," though there was the occasional request for directions from a confused motorist.

"I guess we are just a victim of our own success," says co-founder Larry Page. "We hoped that people would be willing to pay our researchers to find answers to their questions, but I guess the public quickly figured out that they could just 'Google' the damn answers themselves for free!"

Google is in a difficult position, because they have invested millions in their Google Answers program, and had only realized $4.26 in payments from users since the service went live.

"Yeah, we really took a bath on this one," said Page. "I don't really know how Google can survive, if people aren't willing to pay us to find out stuff for them."

"We just bought the complete set of Encyclopedia Britannica reference books from a traveling salesman right before we decided to pull the plug on the service, too. Guess those are going right up on eBay!"

Page also mentioned that Google was working on an experimental program for displaying ads alongside search results on their site, but he was not very hopeful that this would ever become a profitable venture for the fledgling company.

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