Aardvark Mobile uses your social network to answer questions

Sep 30, 2009
Tech

I want to love Aardvark Mobile, but right now I just like it. Aardvark is billed as Social Q&A—ask a question, and utilizing your social network, Aardvark finds someone to give you an answer, usually in less than five minutes.  But why not just use Google? Aardvark’s premise is that sometimes a human answer, rather than […]

I want to love Aardvark Mobile, but right now I just like it. Aardvark is billed as Social Q&A—ask a question, and utilizing your social network, Aardvark finds someone to give you an answer, usually in less than five minutes. 

But why not just use Google? Aardvark’s premise is that sometimes a human answer, rather than an Internet-mined one, is better.  

To use Aardvark Mobile, you need to register for an account. You can do so via the app, but beware, you cannot change your email address. Aardvark also asks you to select at least three topics you’d be interested in answers questions about. Type your question and tag it with a category, then Aardvark goes to work finding someone with the answer.  

If you enable Facebook Connect, Aardvark will first look to your friends and their friends for an answer before sending out to the rest of the Aardvark  network. I was hesitant to enable this feature for fear that it would update my FB status or send notifications. Although neither of these events occurred, they could have. There are no Facebook settings within the app, so I decided to check out my account through Vark.com. I was shocked to find that Aardvark defaulted to have FB notifications turned on (I also had to disable its ability to publish stories via Facebook’s settings panel). 

I was also not pleased to find that Aardvark pulled in all of my interests from Facebook and turned them into tags. It also grabbed my Facebook picture to use as my default user icon. It may have been dumb to assume that Aardvark would ask permissions for these types of things (it seemed that Facebook Connect was only going to integrate my friends and social network), but I really wish the developers would  spell this out more within the Aardvark Mobile app. 

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Aside from that hiccup, Aardvark does work. Although, I’m still waiting for an answer to “What is the best pub quiz in Chicago?” (the app told me that short questions like that would have trouble finding an answer after I submitted it). My questions “What do you like/dislike about Aardvark?” got seven and three responses respectively, in less than two minutes. 

Each time an answer rolled in I received a push notification. I was also pinged to answer a question for a user in Wisconsin about an iPhone case, as I had selected “iPhone” as a topic of interest. You can also answer questions via the answer tab if you’re feeling helpful. If you don’t know the answer you can refer the question to a friend who does, or you can select to have the answer sent to you if you’re interested. 

Because Aardvark mobile relies on push notifications it requires the iPhone 3.0 software.

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