More often than not, we’ll hear about a new service through a blog writeup, or an review request from the founder, or a tip, but one thing I love doing is stumbling across one myself while I am in the midst of finding the solution to a problem. This happened recently with QueryCat, a search service for FAQs and questions and answers, while I typed in a particular question into Google.
Claiming to be the “largest database of frequently asked questions,” QueryCat is what AskJeeves originally set out to be. You can ask it a question, and it’ll try and find a real answer to it from the millions of questions and answers that are catalogued on the web. And while you can hardly expect an answer to most even-slightly obscure questions, QueryCat isn’t a purely dud service.
For example, I asked “How many audio formats are there?” and while I got relevant answers, I didn’t get exactly what I was looking for. Of course, then I figured since it indexes mostly FAQs I ought to ask a more general and open-question, so I tried “What is Digg?” and got the perfect answer.
While such an approach to search is interesting, and complements Google since it’s where I ran across a result page from QueryCat while asking Google a question, I’m not sure if it helps users all that much as a standalone service. I personally think most users just use Google or Wikipedia to find out about something they don’t know about, so even if a service tried to, the respective services have gained so much trust and reliability from users that I’m not sure they would work. But of course, each to his own — an average user uses more than four search engines per month, so there is a lot of room for everybody.