Orkut Polls: More Google Data Mining

Google may be all about automation, but it understands the benefits of user-created data.

Hence, the new polls functionality in Orkut. Google has now made it possible for Orkut users to post and respond to poll questions posted by other users.

Danny Sullivan wonders if this is a roundabout way of reintroducing Google Answers, which was shuttered last year. Yahoo Answers, meanwhile, is now a successful portal for social networking. Does Google want to get in on this action?

Maybe. But my guess is that the polls have another function: They provide more data for search queries. If you think about it, it makes sense. By creating a poll system instead of an open-ended free-writing response sysem (like Yahoo Answers), you can control the data set returned by users: 90 percent voted A, 6 percent voted B and 4 percent voted C. Yahoo's goal is social. Google's goal is data. For both companies, all projects serve those masters.

Easy peasy. And kinda like Google's image labeling game, which, while fun, is for the benefit of Google's algorithms.