The article explains how services like ChaCha view text messages as an alternative to cellphone search engines like Google. ChaCha allows you to ask a question by text or voice message and a human provides you with an answer. Before interviewing Scott Jones for How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America, I had already heard about ChaCha and had successfully used it. My family and I were driving on I-65 from Chicago to Louisville and I called to find out where the nearest Wallgreens was. I asked my question and hung up. A couple seconds later we got a text message confirming the question, and they got the question right. Another minute passed and another text came in, right on the money.
When I had the chance to ask Scott about ChaCha during the interview, he said the combination of human plus artificial intelligence is the key thing. And that asking questions beyond basic location queries like mine, would make things very interesting. Say you’re in a rental car, a Toyota Camry, and for the life of you you can’t find the gas tank door release. What do you do? With ChaCha you can call and ask the question, “I’m in a 2009 Toyota Camry. Where is the gas tank release switch?” And get an answer! How cool is that? Scott makes the point that the world is mostly mobile with many parts of the globe having bypassed all land-based computers, so that mobile search becomes the de facto standard.
Any other ChaCha users? What have you asked?