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June 17, 2009

Harvesting the Best Answers from Ask.com’s AnswerFarms!

Earlier this year we blogged about Ask.com’s AnswerFarm™ technology – our proprietary method of crawling and extracting question/answer pairs from hundreds of thousands of sources, including user generated content, FAQ pages, news/blog articles, and structured/semi-structured data. Our Q&A database has quickly become one of the largest and most useful Q&A collections on the web – an efficient and interesting way to “see” the chatter taking place across the web about all kinds of topics.

Today at SemTech 2009 in San Jose, we’re excited to announce that our Q&A database has grown from 100 million Q&A pairs to more than 300 million in just a few short months. What’s truly significant about this milestone is the quality of our Q&A pairs. Our semantic search technology advancements in clustering, rephrasing, and answer relevance enable us to determine when we have multiple questions that all semantically mean the same thing, so we can aggregate those Q&A pairs, filter out insignificant and less meaningful answer formats, and thus find the most relevant answers.

Simply put, when a consumer asks us a question, our goal is to provide the best answer, the first time, every time.

As we’ve grown topical coverage and improved relevance, we see continual improvements in user frequency, retention, and loyalty within the Q&A channel and when consumers are exposed to Q&A pairs within standard web search results. Below are examples of our Q&A channel, as well as how we’ve added useful Q&A pairs into our web results pages. 

"how do I train a puppy" :


"is poison ivy contagious" :

Poison Ivy

"the most abundant elements" :


"difference between dextrose and glucose" :


So take a look and try it for yourself. We hope you enjoy the fruits of our ‘farming’!

- Dr. Tomasz Imielinski, EVP, Global Search & Answers
- Lingkun Chu, Director, AnswerFarm and Search System

P.S. – Catch Tomasz at SemTech 2009 at the Executive Round Table: Semantic Search panel, at The Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, California at 8:30am PT today. Later, he’ll hosthave a media briefing at 1:30pm PT in the Terrace Room, Ballroom Level at The Fairmont. Come and say hello…and if you ask a question he’s certain to have an Answer ;)

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