Searching for Answers? Ask Facebook Questions

By Blake Ross on Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at 1:09pm

Millions of people ask their friends questions on Facebook every day. What new music should I listen to? Where's the best sushi place in town? How do I learn to play the piano?

Today we're introducing Facebook Questions, a beta product that lets you pose questions like these to the Facebook community. With this new application, you can get a broader set of answers and learn valuable information from people knowledgeable on a range of topics.

Since we like to develop products carefully over time with your help, Facebook Questions is available to a limited number of people right now, and we'll be developing it rapidly based on their feedback. We're aiming to bring this product to all of you as quickly as we can.

Ask Anything, Get Quality Answers

Facebook Questions helps you tap into the collective knowledge of the more than 500 million people on Facebook. For example, if you're vacationing in Costa Rica and want to know the best places to surf, you can use Facebook Questions to get answers from nearby surfing enthusiasts. Because questions will also appear to your friends and their friends, you'll receive answers that are more personalized to you.

To ask a question to the community, just click the "Ask Question" button at the top of the homepage. You can also ask questions about your friends from their profiles, similarly to how you would post on their Walls.

After you ask a question, you have the option of adding a photo or a poll. Want to know what type of flower is growing in your back yard? Take a photo and attach it to the question. Wondering which video game system is better for your 8 year-old cousin: Nintendo Wii or XBox? Make a poll.

Keep in mind that all questions and answers posted using the Questions application are public and visible to everyone on the Internet. If you only want to ask a question to your friends or a specific group of people, you can still pose it as a status update on your profile targeted to those people.

Connect with People in the Know

To help us show your question to the most relevant people and ensure the best answers, you can tag it with a specific topic. For instance, if you have a question about what type of camera you should buy, you could tag it with "Photography." If you want to find the best bike routes in the area, you might tag it with "Cycling."

The questions you ask will be shown to people who have expressed interest in the particular topics you tag, as well as to your friends and friends of friends.

Explore Any Topic

Tagging themes also helps others benefit from the knowledge of everyone on Facebook. For instance, if you've always wanted to learn more about cooking, politics or even how to train for a marathon, Facebook Questions lets you see what others are asking about those subjects.

You can browse answers from people with deep knowledge on a topic or click "Follow" under any question to receive a notification each time someone submits a new answer.

You can browse through all of the questions to help find ones you may have never thought to ask. Just select "Everything" from the "Questions about" drop-down menu at the top of the application, and click "Next Question" to start exploring questions and sharing your answers.

Blake Ross, a director of product management at Facebook, is answering your questions about Facebook Questions.