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Sunday, January 6, 2008

ChaCha Releases Search Via Text Message

Posted by @ 9:05 pm

I first covered ChaCha around this time last year, when the people powered search engine recently launched the ability to search with a human guide. While they have struggled to gain mainstream adoption, the crew at ChaCha has released a new service which allows users to search via a text message sent from their mobile phone.

To use the service you simply send a text message to ‘ChaCha’ (242242) and someone at ChaCha will send you a text message back with a human answer to your search query. The results will also provide a link to the source where the guide gathered your information.

Because the service is operated by human guides, users don’t have to worry about remembering any syntax associated with their searches and can simply type their query in a natural manner. It also gives users the freedom to ‘outsource’ an internet search when they are busy or don’t have access to the web on their mobile.

The only drawback to the service is that users are only presented with limited search results for their query. If users performed the same search on Google for example, they would be able to browse through pages of results rather than relying on a couple of hand picked selections. If you’re keen to give the service a go, you can try a preview here.

ChaCha has received some serious financial backing with funding of $6m from Jeff Bozos, founder of, who will be keen to see the service succeed. Others though look less favorably on the search engine, including TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington who had this to say in a comment about the story,

“So they are basically sticking a human in between me and Google, and paying that human a fee. Think through that enough and it all becomes kind of obvious why this isn’t going to work.”

If you’re thinking of giving this service a try, let us know what you think.


Matthew Elshaw Matt is a marketing professional at, an international search marketing firm. Matt's passion for online marketing began at university and has proved invaluable in steering product development and marketing initiatives at the company. Matt is a regular contributor to the ineedhits search marketing blog.

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Discussion (1 - comment)

You compare ChaCha with Google. Not the same thing. You text a question to ChaCha and they come back with THE answer. With Google you send them a question, and they come back with a list of results that may have the answer to your question.

By Anonymous - January 16, 2008

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