ChaCha Loses Chatrooms & Goes For Mobile Search

Posted Apr 1, 2008


“Thanks for using ChaCha’s experimental mobile service. What is your question today? *beep*”
-ChaCha’s Automated Voicemail

ChaCha has shifted their strategy. ChaCha was known for having a chat room with guides that help you search for items. Now ChaCha has automated search through the use of automated text messaging and an 800 number. ChaCha’s number is 1-800-224-2242 (1800-2CHACHA). You tell the automated voice a question such as where can you find certain restaurants.

Here is how my first session went with them.
Amit to ChaCha (9:57PM):
Where can I find an Applebee’s in downtown Minneapolis?
ChaCha text msg response (9:58PM): Welcome to ChaCha. Your phone just got smarter. Ask away. Your first answer will come shortly. Other charges may apply. Send HELP for help. Send STOP to quit.
ChaCha text msg response (9:58PM): ChaCha is working on your question: Where can I find an Applebees in downtown Minneapolis? You should receive an answer in a few minutes
ChaCha text msg response (10PM): Applebee’s 5277 Central Ave. NE Fridley, MN

The service seems to be working functionally, but not accurately. Fridley, MN is a city that is about 10 miles away from downtown Minneapolis. 1-800-GOOG-411 seems to have better results in terms of finding restaurants. However, Google’s 411 service is not as smart.

With ChaCha, you can ask the automation specific questions like, “Who was the first President of the United States?” And about 3 minutes later, ChaCha would send you a text message such as “On April 30th, 1789, George Washington took his oath of office as the first President of the United States.” ChaCha gave more than I asked for which is great.

ChaCha’s new service makes my smartphone even smarter.

“Search with a Guide” will no longer be offered by the company, but ChaCha guides can work as Voice Transcribers or Text Guides. The non-guided ChaCha search will still be available at ChaCha.com and will be known as ChaCha Classic.

Information Source:
[1] TechCrunch: ChaCha Ditches Guided Search Model. I Love To Hate This Startup by Michael Arrington