Saturday, April 19, 2008

Aunt Bee Would Like ChaCha

I had to share this recent article. Although ChaCha is much more than a modern-day Mayberry operator (we are precisely routing questions to the optimal guide and answer delivery is facilitated in a sophisticated, scalable manner) it is great to see these real-life experiences relayed by people who are objectively evaluating the value of mobile answers from ChaCha. This writer would have saved more than an hour finding a digital camera by starting with ChaCha... Let me know what you think of this writer's take...

The Free Lance-Star - Fredericksburg,VA,USA

ONE MIGHT expect ChaCha, the new cell phone search engine powered by actual flesh-and-blood human beings, to be as slow as a choo-choo chugging up a hill. ...

ONE MIGHT expect ChaCha, the new cell phone search engine powered by actual flesh-and-blood human beings, to be as slow as a choo-choo chugging up a hill.

It's essentially a cyber- version of the Mayberry telephone operator Andy and Barney used to call up whenever they wanted to know if the diner had a special on meatloaf.
(You can actually do that with ChaCha, by the way.)

Users call, text or e-mail a real, live human being with a question and he or she quickly and carefully researches it for you, delivering a snippet of personalized advice along with the single best Web site link to your mobile phone.

The service works on any cell phone, and it's surprisingly fast--usually delivering results in a few minutes. It's also uncannily on the nose in terms of personal advice.

My cynical editor suggested that ChaCha might be pulling a fast one on us, delivering what advertisers pay it to tell us.

So I put the service to a tough test.

I spent over an hour on the Web, trying to figure out what the best digital camera would be as a gift for my 7-year-old son's birthday.

Robbie's grandmother had asked me to do this. She then turned her nose up at a few possibilities I came up with. Finally, we agreed that one looked like a good choice.

I put ChaCha to a real test by texting "What's the best digital camera for kids?"

And I posed this question at 12:15 a.m., believing I wouldn't get an answer till the next morning.

A short time later, I had my answer.

And, like some kind of magic card trick, it was the same Fisher-Price camera Robbie's grandmother and I liked after more than an hour's painstaking research.

Ask ChaCha where the cheapest gas is. Ask it where you can get the best bowl of clam chowder in town. Ask it what the weather will be like.
Aside from the human touch factor and the fact that there's dependable personal advice involved, ChaCha is special because users don't have to sift through link after link on tiny cell phone screens.

Indianapolis-based Cha-Cha recently won out over 100 other mobile software developers at the third annual Fast Pitch contest held at the annual CTIA wireless show in Las Vegas. Indianapolis-based ChaCha, won the $25,000 first prize.

ChaCha also has gotten a promotion deal on AT&T's wireless portal MEdiaNet, providing exposure to more than 70 million customers.
Andy and Barney would like it.

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