Aardvark Combines Yahoo Answers With Instant Messaging

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 17, 2009
Updated • Dec 11, 2012

Tobey mailed me an invite to Aardvark the other day which left me puzzled for a short time. The email basically stated that Tobey had invited me and trusted my opinion on blogging, computers and technical advisory. That's actually a very nice way of inviting users to join a service that they know nothing about. Aardvark basically is a way to ask questions to a community of experts who then answer this questions. What makes it different from Yahoo Answers and search engines is the social component and the ways questions can be asked and answered.

Registered users can ask questions from several popular Instant Messaging clients such as Google Talk, Windows Live, AIM or Twitter, practically all email clients (no matter if they are online or desktop clients) and the Aardvark website. One major component is the friend network that user's can utilize to have their questions answered. When posting a question Aardvark will analyze that question and try to find the best possible friends who can answer that question. Questions will also be directed to friends of friends, co-workers, people living in the same location and people who are topical experts.

Answers will be either send to an Instant Messenger of choice if the user who asked the question is online at that time or to the email account if the user is offline in the client. The time it takes to get a response depends largely on the question, the time the question is asked and the friends of the user. All questions that have been asked during tests (with only 1 offline friend present at that time) were answered by dedicated users of the service in less than five minutes.

The concept itself is pretty amazing and users can contribute by answering questions. The main benefits of Aardvark over similar services like Yahoo Answers are that the answers (seem to be) more professional, that questions can be asked from Instant Messengers, Email or the website, that the answers arrive in less than five minutes on average and that the community does not seem to be spammed by webmasters promoting their own services.

Aardvark offers a great alternative to Yahoo Answers, similar services and doing research on the Internet.

Update: Google has acquired the Aardvark service, technology and website in 2010. The Internet giant later on decided to discontinue Aardvark. The site and technology is no longer available.


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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between name.com domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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