Google has announced it is shelving its social search tool Google Answers in a statement posted on its official blog.

The statement says users won’t be able to pose questions from later this week, and that Google will stop accepting answers by the end of the year.

It adds: “Google Answers was a great experiment which provided us with a lot of material for developing future products to serve our users. We’ll continue to look for new ways to improve the search experience and to connect people to the information they want.”

The post gives little in the way of explanation for the closure, other than saying Google is “trying lots of new things all the time – and sometimes it means reconsidering our goals for a product.”

But a recent blog by Steve Bryant provides some insights into where the web giant’s social search strategy may go from here.

Google Answers uses “carefully screened” experts to provide answers to search queries. By comparison, Yahoo!’s social search tool, Yahoo! Answers, allows anyone to do so.

According to Hitwise, Yahoo! Answers has racked up 50 times the market share (in visits) of Google Answers and Microsoft’s Live QnA service.

Danny Sullivan also has some interesting thoughts on Google Answers’ demise.