(Mashable) -- Facebook released a new version of its Questions feature on Thursday, the result of nearly a year of beta testing.
The new version of Questions takes the focus off public inquiries (a service already dominated by Q&A sites like Quora) and instead focuses on soliciting recommendations from friends.
"There are a lot of places you can go on the internet to ask questions of people who you don't know, but there are very few places you can go to get responses from your friends," said Adrian Graham, a project manager for Questions. "We thought that this is where we should focus."
The updated version will be rolled out to current testers first. When they start asking questions, the feature will automatically be pushed to their friends.
Those who don't want to wait for a friend to ask a question on their profile in order to use the new feature can download it here. For now, the feature is only available in English.
Here's a quick look at the new product:
Asking a question
When asking a question, users have an option to create a poll with restricted answers or one that allows anybody to add answers. The latter option is helpful if, for instance, they want to ask their friends for restaurant recommendations.
Generally, this type of question only requires a short answer, but it's not as though there are a limited number of options. Friends can add their favorite restaurants to the answer list easily, and if they have something else to say can write it in an attached comment section.
For questions that don't work with a poll format (i.e. "Can we have a long discussion about the meaning of life?"), this comment section becomes the answer section.
When we last checked in on the product in July, wall posts about Questions merely referenced isolated pages where friends could respond. Now questions can be answered and commented on within newsfeeds and profile pages.
When a friend participates, the question is also posted to his or her profile page. Hypothetically, a compelling question could spread to every Facebook user in this way.
Answering a question
As users respond, each option's box fills to reflect its popularity. This way, viewers see the poll questions and results at the same time. Facebook also displays the profile photos of respondents next to the options they select.
When users are adding an option to a poll-style question, Facebook prepopulates a drop-down menu with corresponding Facebook pages. One of these pages can be tacked to the answer so that other users can see a preview window of that page.
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