Over the years we’ve seen – and featured here – any number of fancy, 3D search engines, all of which we knew instantly would disappear from sight instantly. Why? Because search is about speed, not fancy 3D icons, thumbnails and other junk. All of which slow down the process. So it’s nice to report on a new search tool which goes completely the other way.
Quick Answers is a simple single box search service which delivers answers to natural English phrased questions. That’s it. Ask it a question, and it will come back with a simple short response which answers your query. Not only is it fast, but it’s perfect for use on a phone or tablet, where screen space is at a premium.
Of course the answers are all culled from well established massive online databases like Wikipedia, and of course it only handles the English language, but even so it’s a pretty impressive little tool. At the moment it’s still a work in progress, so there’s lots of stuff it won’t be able to answer – or it won’t answer because it doesn’t understand your English – but in those cases it’s always worth putting the query into another phrase to ask again.
There are also results options which include directions and additional information, but we’re not sure what triggers those, unless it depends on where the answer is culled from. Above you can see a Stackexchange travel response. It’s early days, but already we can see this being a very cool tool indeed for those quick, must have answers (especially for those with children – ‘why is the sky blue, daddy?).
You also get answers which request validation, so the search results will improve over time. Very clever.