New site Beepl knows what's on your mind

By John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) --- Got a question? A new Q&A site called Beepl already knew that.

Well, kinda.

Not only will the site give you an answer to the question that's on your mind, it claims to know what types of questions you're likely to ask before you ever type them into the site's question-answer interface.

"Beepl ... understands the topics that questions relate to and users’ interests and expertise so that questions automatically reach the best people to answer them," the company said in a blog post on Monday, as the site went live to the public after three months of private trials. "It achieves this by employing natural language processing and machine learning to create a real-time network of experts in which questions are re-routed and matched to the most relevant users, marking Beepl out from similar Q&A sites."

    The site also leverages data from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to serve up Q&As that might interest a particular person. When I signed in this morning, for instance, I was greeted with questions about social media sites, gadgets and other techie stuff.

    Like its rival site, Quora, which was the talk of Silicon Valley about a year ago, Beepl crowdsources the answers to questions, meaning the site's users essentially answer each other's queries. So there's no guarantee the answers are right -- or that anyone will answer. VentureBeat, a blog that follows start-ups and emerging tech, says that the difference between Quora and Beepl is that Beepl is using semantic info from social media to try to find experts who would be best able to answer a given question.

    The blog adds:

    Beepl allows users to easily sign-up through Facebook or Twitter and then have the option of connecting to LinkedIn. Once you’re connected, Beepl makes it extremely easy to post a question or browse lists of questions that you may be able to answer. It offers a “direct questions” feature that lets you message other users in private if you don’t feel like publicly posting or answering. Beepl also looks to reward active users by tracking the number of times you post a question or answer one. It keeps a running tally, which determines your “Beepl Rank.”

    For now, the site, which was c0-founded by former TechCrunch writer Steve O’Hear, seems to be little-used. The "Popular Q's" on the site typically have less than 10 responses. That could change as more people find out about Beepl, of course, but for now the site's launch seems to ask more questions than it answers about the future of Q&A sites -- namely: Do we need more of them?

    Beepl does have some supporters, though.

    A Twitter user named @adamblottr, for example, wrote on Twitter that "Beepl is addictive & somehow hooks me in better than Quora & YahooAnswers ever did." Beepl featured that post on its official blog.

    If you check out the site, let me know what you think of it in the comments section below. Or answer my Beepl question about it.

    So far, I have two responses. One positive and one maybe-we'll-see.