Facebook created an application last July called Facebook Questions, which many believed was the social network's way of going after question-and-answer site Quora. Then it disappeared and now it's back in a new incarnation that gives askers poll results rather than answers.
"We noticed that people were frequently asking for opinions ("what are your favorite restaurants in New York?") or hoping to learn about their friends ("what was your favorite movie as a kid, something you watched over and over?")" wrote Adrian Graham, product manager for Facebook Questions, on the Facebook Blog. "We wanted to make questions easier and faster to answer. With the updated Questions you can agree with an existing answer with a single click, or you can add a different response. This makes it easy for many more people to respond to you. It also helps us show you the most popular responses."
Essentially askers will get the most popular answers in poll results rather than a single, best answer. It's definitely more social and more quantitative, but I'm not sure it's really the same animal as the previous Facebook Questions. I don't think the polling is really needed because users can frequently ask friends on Facebook for their input at any time without poll results.
Part of the attraction, Graham says, is that your friends will answer, their friends will answer (because your question will be visible to them, too) and their friends, too. Basically it's a way to get past those privacy protections you worked so hard to create -- and that benefits Facebook and its advertisers, not so much the users.
Those interested in Facebook Questions can try it here or wait until its sitewide release.