Beepl opened its social question-and-answer site to the public on Monday, with the hopes of challenging Quora and similar startups by finding the right specialists to answer user questions. It does that with technology that matches up users with the queries that they are most interested in and most qualified to answer.
Users can sign in to Beepl with their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, linking the new service to their social graphs. Once a user has logged in, Beepl scans their social media profiles to create an interest graph. The company uses semantic technology, natural language processing and machine learning to build its network of subject matter experts and to deliver relevant questions to them.
The idea is that “users don’t follow topics, but topics follow them.” Beepl also ranks users, creating an algorithmically determined “Beepl score” based on their contributions to the site. That helps it further identify users who provide valuable input on the site.
While using people’s existing social graph is a good, fast way to determine what they are knowledgeable in, linking to their Twitter accounts also enables Beepl users to send questions to the system using the #ask hashtag. In addition to responses that happen on the site, Beepl will also pull in any responses that emerge from their Twitter followers.
Beepl, which is headquartered in London but has an office in Prague, was founded by CEO (and former TechCrunch journalist) Steve O’Hear. The startup has spent the past three months in a private alpha period before preparing for launch. In July, Beepl announced a seed investment from Credo Ventures, and Credo partner Ondrej Bartos sits on Beepl’s board.