Facebook puts friends on the spot with relaunch of Questions

Just how knowledgeable are your friends? Because Facebook’s relaunching its Questions Q&A site to give more prominence to information from friends, and less to answers from the general public.

The new version of Questions is already available in a limited, English-only beta. It’s being rolled out in a viral manner – when a beta user starts asking questions, it will automatically be pushed to their friends.

All questions are still public, but when answers are displayed, priority is given to those from a user’s friends.

Facebook says the idea for the changes cam from the company’s observations about the way people were using the service. People would use a question as a status update, with their friends answering in the comments.

“We noticed that people were frequently asking for opinions (‘what are your favorite restaurants in New York?’) or hoping to learn about their friends (‘what was your favorite movie as a kid, something you watched over and over?’),” says product manager Adrian Graham on the company blog.

“For most of these questions, experts weren’t going to be the best source for advice. The answers to these questions are meaningful or interesting because you know your friends and your friends know you.”

While the service might at first sound rather like Quora, for example, there’s abig difference. Quora’s answers tend to be on the long side – full reviews of a movie, for example, rather than the sort of one-line response that Facebook Questions encourages.