Google is Testing “Questions & Answers” in Knowledge Panels (Updated)

Update: Google rolled out Questions & Answers to local panels in August 2017. 

Google is testing a new feature for local business listings – “Questions & Answers”.

This feature asks users to post questions about a location, and potentially answer questions. This feature is not limited to any industry, as I have seen it on all kinds of listings – hotels, bars, consultants, car dealers, etc.

google local questions and answers google local questions and answers hotel google local questions and answers bar

I was not able to go past the question box, as it prompted me to log in first, and after I logged in the box wasn’t there for me.

Initially, I thought that Google was testing a local bot similar to Bing’s bot that was launched 2 months ago. But I’ve changed my mind from bot-powered answers to user-sourced answers, due to the name of the box “Questions & answers” which signals that users are able to answer other users’ questions. So, it seems like this feature could be similar to Amazon’s questions and answers.

Update: 

It looks like I was right, and the tested feature is similar to Amazon’s Q&A.

Oleg Kostyukevich posted these pictures of the test on Google+ (h/t Tim Capper):

“Questions & Answers” “Be the first to ask a question”

“Ask the owner or the community a question”

The user asked a question. You can see it in bold.

You can see that the question was added to the knowledge panel

 

Oleg Kostyukevich noted that this feature is available in his Google Maps app. I do not see it in my app, so this could be limited to android users only, or he is part of the new feature test, which Google often selects high-level local guides and GMB forum top-contributors for.

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