Quora has been around for a while now, but it's getting a whole lot of attention from the tech Blogosphere this week. Naturally, many have questioned its value, but bloggers seem to love it. Why is that? Is Quora the "biggest blogging innovation in 10 years" as Robert Scoble asks?
That might be a little strong, but Quora doesn't have to be the biggest innovation in ten years or even one year to have value. In fact, to me, Quora isn't so much about innovation as it is simply taking elements that have existed elsewhere for some time and putting them together in a potentially useful way.
As many others have pointed out, Quora has attributes of many other services. You can make comparisons to: Twiter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Wikipedia,Yahoo Answers, Digg, ChaCha...even Google Wave. I'm sure you can find plenty more than that.
What Quora is really about, at least at this point in time, is who is using it and what they have to say. MG Siegler at TechCrunch pretty much hit the nail on the head: " It's all about the information, not the medium."
Any site on the web is only as good as its content. So let's consider Quora in this same light. The fact is that the site is drawing content from some high profile people - executives and whatnot. As long as it is giving users access to valuable information, it will have an important place on the web - beyond just being the "shiny new object".
Asking if Quora is the next big thing isn't the right question. It's already a big thing. The question you should be asking is, "Does this have value to me?". If the answer is yes, then consider it the next big thing, or even the current big thing. If the answer is no (and you might want to explore a bit before brushing it off), then maybe it's not your next big thing.
Scoble notes that he's been seeing Quora pages pop up in Google results, so that is something to consider though. The site does give you an opportunity to showcase your expertise on subjects, which can be good for your brand. This is something that is true with Q&A sites, social media, and online forums in general.