A New Answers App Aims to Succeed Where Quora Failed

at Wired: “Yahoo Answers. Quora. JustAnswer.com. Over the years, countless sites have offered to answer all your random questions with help from “experts” across the net. They’re called expert networks, and in some cases, they can be kinda helpful. But these myriad services have never lived up to their billing. The quality of the counsel on these sites is inconsistent—”expert” so often seems a misnomer—and even with a site like JustAnswer, which aims to provide helpful counsel in real-time, you so rarely get the answers you want when you want them.
You would think that the tech world would finally give up on this sort of thing. But not Aaron Patzer.
Patzer is the founder of Mint.com, a financial management service now used by about 10 million people. He sold the service to software giant Intuit in 2009, quit the company three years later, and has now returned to the tech world with a new take on, yes, the expert network. It’s called Fountain, and it’s set to go live with a few thousand beta testers on Saturday. The aim is to remake the answers game by turning it into a Siri-like smartphone experience, letting you verbally ask questions and then connect to “experts” via voice calls, online chats, or even video….
Patzer also says that the Fountain operation is data-driven. It uses natural language processing to match askers with experts, and it even uses online analysis to locate these experts. At launch, there are a couple hundred experts onboard, who were all contacted and vetted by his team. But initially, an algorithm combed through thousands of online resumes and identified promising candidates based on their listed skills, essentially “pre-approving” them for the job.”…