Quora has opened to the public after months of high-profile development in closed beta. The service was started by a group of early Facebook employees, most notably Facebook's first CTO Adam D'Angelo. It's a beautifully designed site but is entering a very crowded Q&A market.Real-time social Question and Answer service
The company has raised millions of dollars in venture capital, at a very high valuation, and is rumored to be in a nasty spat behind the scenes with Facebook leadership. It's also been a great place to get inside dirt on Silicon Valley startups. Ready to take a peak inside? The site is open to new users today.
ReadWriteWeb posted the first screenshots of the service in January, but Quora has been subject of intense press scrutiny ever since - while remaining accessible only through a loose invitation system.
Meanwhile, Facebook itself is developing a Q&A system and is rumored to be engaged in a back-and-forth war of IP blocking between its employees and Quora's. We've heard that there's more animosity than that going on behind the scenes as well.
Meanwhile, Quora has remained a small site building itself to ensure scalability when this time finally came. Public launch day was marked by a very nice write-up in the Wall St. Journal. Quora is a good little site, but it's hard not to wonder if the hype, funding and press coverage is warranted given the traction-to-pedigree ratio.
Those of us who have enjoyed using it among a select group of early adopters may find the new public Quora to be a different animal. That's certainly what happened when the marginally-related Aardvark went from red-hot to Google acquired to uselessly swamped with half-baked questions from the Google-using public. (Sorry, it's true!)
Quora is closely tied in to the Facebook "social graph" of its users, something that may help it avoid Aardvark's fate if if ever gets in front of a large number of people.
Let's see what you've got, Quora.