No, Yahoo Answers is not Google Answers (RIP Google Answers, you died far too soon.) But it’s still an interesting place to visit when you’ve got an odd or, in my experience, a less-technical question. I also find it a good place to go when I’m first learning about a topic and need to pick up some vocabulary for my searches.
So I was happy to see that Yahoo recently brought the advanced search capabilities more to the forefront, making them a part of the search results page. You can get an idea of how the new result page works by visiting Yahoo Answers at http://answers.yahoo.com/.
I did a search for ironing boards (long story). To my surprise I got over 1400 results, with a filter on the left side to help me narrow down my results.
You can exclude words from the search results, show all English questions or US questions only, and narrow down your results by question status (resolved or open) and how recently they’ve been added. I decided to narrow down the search results by questions asked within the last 30 days and which had been answered. That got the results down to 23, which ranged from everything to asking about how best to measure for an ironing board cover to several questions about snowboards.
Looking at all the different kinds of results I got I think that Yahoo Answers missed one pretty important filter: the ability to limit the search words to just the question. If I had been able to limit “ironing” to just the question instead of the question and answer, I would have gotten a much better set of information.
Actually I’m a little confused by this because I could have sworn that Yahoo Answers did have this capacity once — it seems too basic to have been missed. Looking back at this advanced search tutorial, I see that the capacity to limit keywords to questions did exist at one point, but I can’t find it now. Searching Yahoo Answers for answers about Yahoo Answers didn’t help either…
I like the advanced search for Yahoo Answers being brought to the forefront, but where did the very basic functionality of limited the keyword search to questions only go? Did I miss something?
Update: Since my writing this Yahoo has made a few changes to advanced answers.