[App Review] Questions – Ask and Answer

The App is simply called “Questions”.

A friend of mine contacted me from the Silicon Valley.

He is working on an old/new way to get answers from the interweb : humans.

We all know Google, Naver Q&A and Yahoo! Q&A. But this is an experience you need to try.

I was busy and not very reactive to his requests to try it. But it’s interesting. Just a beginning. But with huge implications.

The App is simply called “Questions – Ask and Answer“.

How it works

  • Ask a question : you record a short video asking something, give it a one work name and wait for answers
  • Answer a question : choose a title or a thumbnail that catched your attention and record a short video of you answering
  • For example : I asked “What is the best month to visit California?” and someone answered within 3 hours.

photo 5

 

What I like

  • Easy and very well adapted to a mobile experience. Would not imagined use this on desktop.
  • Nice to see the face of the people answering your. You can extract more information from facial expression than any textual response.
  • Fast answers
  • Lots of questions to answer
  • Quality of answers may vary but you can ask questions you would not think of trying to fit on Google keywords.
  • photo 2

What could be improved

  • Sometimes you don’t want to show your face, that’s one of the success of the Internet.
  • Level of questions and short time to answer makes it hard to see any profound answers or debates
  • Even for factual questions, it’s always faster to type on a search engine
  • UX and design is not perfect for the moment (dark theme), making the experience more awkward than necessary
  • Not a lot of users for the moment and no way to filter questions really.

 

They are just starting. But give it a try and tell me what you think.

There are a lot of interesting User Experience challenges here.

 

Why is Naver Beating Google in Korea

Naver is the most used search service in Korea. Some Koreans even have a viceral repulsion for the way Google looks and works.

Naver is the most used search service in Korea. Some Koreans even have a viceral repulsion for the way Google looks and works. Here is a small comparison. [Big Thanks to my friend Dayo for making me write this small piece]

This comparison, I hope, will help answer those 3 questions :

  1. Why is Naver so used in Korea ?
  2. Why is Google not used in Korea ?
  3. Why is Naver not used outside Korea ?

Naver Most Used Features (All on the same page)

  • Web search
  • Blog and blog search
  • Maps
  • News
  • Image search (better than Google’s in the User experience, not the accuracy in my opinion)

Crowd generated content

  • Content is mostly generated by users blogging. Koreans blog about anything. I’m amazed to see my wife looking for a restaurant in Paris, on a Naver Korean Blog ! But she is right. You have more chance to find pictures (a lot, and it matters) on a Korean blog more than in the local Google search (maybe because France is not well served on the subject)
  • The pitfall is that sometimes, like with Wikipedia, the content lakes objectivity. My wife experience confronting someones error on his blog. When told the owner of the blog argued that he was right because all other Naver bloggers put the same piece of information. But they were all wrong (about a movie filming location in Italy). Even the official-looking Naver equivalent of IMDB was re-using bloggers wrong information. Very dangerous in my opinion.

Form/Appearance

  • As you may know, Hangul is 20% more compact than latin Alphabet. Hence the amount of information that can fit on a page is higher. And because they can, they do. My wife like other Koreans prefers scrolling through a long page with  a lot of info instead of having to click deeper.
  • For some Korean people I know : “Google is ugly and messy”, and “Naver is ordered and easy to read”
  • Naver is only in Korean as far as I know.

Technical / Performance

  • As a developer : this is kind of a mystery : the Naver site, like so many Korean websites, have to be IE6 compatible (because of a custom government certificate problem). Hence it is terribly inefficient  Yet the speed of the broadband connection is so high that most Korean don’t realize. But as soon as you look at the way pages are built, you discover how much bandwidth is needed every time the page reloads. Horrifying !

Advertising on Naver

  • Very disturbing and intrusive in my opinion (Especially cosmetic surgery ads)

Advertising of Naver

  • On TV, no brand is putting it’s web address on screen, instead a Naver Box appears and the brand name is filled in. This is a powerful model I think. Both part are winning. Don’t know the detail of the deal between the brand and Naver.

Habits

  • Koreans are used to it. Hard to change for a “new” player like Google. I believe Naver was first there.
  • Everybody uses it. Following the trend is also a habit in Korea.

Nationalism

  • Naver is made in Korea.

 

And you my Korean friends ? Why do you like Naver so much ?

Busan people : “We use Google to find Naver”

In the last 7 days, Busan people only used Google to find Naver !

Ok, that’s not directly a Busan citizen who told me this. I used Google Trends to search the last keyword trend in Busan region.

What I found is that the only keyword (compared to other countries) is 네이버 which is the name of Naver.

What is Naver ?

Naver is the Google Killer in Republic of Korea. For what I know, nobody uses Google. Even my wife, in France, uses Naver to find places in Paris. Why ?

  1. the philosophy behind Naver is totaly different. It could be seen as a Yahoo-Google merge. Powerfull.
  2. the Korean alphabet (Hangul) makes it easy to see more info on the same page (more compact)
  3. Korean I met like to have more info on one page, they feel that Google’s homepage is empty. By the way, I read somewhere that Google changed it’s front page in Asia to make it more attractive and less empty. Question of design taste.
  4. there are more information coming for more blogging people. Because people blog more in Korea. They take pictures of food, of restaurant, addresses, tutorial on how to get refund from duty free… So specialized. There is a human response for everything compare to just machine keyword analysis.

What is Busan ?

Busan is the second largest city in Korea. This is where I went most of the time when I traveled in Korea. This is the city of my wife’s familiy.

Why are Busan People using Google to find Naver ?

Do you have an explanation ? I think it’s a statistics artifact.