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Do you ChaCha?

photograph from Science & Technology story

(5/21/2007)

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When people are looking for information on the Internet they use a search engine. There are a couple of very popular search engines that people usually use. Two of them are Google and Yahoo. A new way to search for information has recently started. It is called ChaCha.

ChaCha is different from other standard search sites. People are still able to search topics on their own. But with ChaCha they can even talk to experts who can help them find better information.

Some people who have tried using ChaCha thought they were talking to a robot. One man who works for ChaCha said that people are very surprised when they realize that they are talking to a real person.

To use ChaCha a person starts their search much like one with Google or Yahoo. Results will appear on the screen. But if someone needs more precise information they can click on “chat live with a guide.” This will connect them with someone who is trained in the subject they are researching.

ChaCha faces a challenge. Other search engines are already very popular. Almost everyone already knows about them and uses them. A group of laptop users were asked some questions about search engines. Very few people had ever heard of ChaCha. One of them tried it and liked it. He said he would try using it some more.

The man who started ChaCha is an inventor. He also started the voice mail system used on many cell phones and office phones. He thought that searching for information on the Internet was very frustrating. He felt that it would be more useful if people could talk to experts who could help them search for information.

Using ChaCha is free. People who work for ChaCha get paid between 50 cents and $1 for each search and chat they conduct. These people are called guides. Hard working guides can make more than $10 and hour and work from home.

The man who started ChaCha hopes to expand beyond the online experience. He plans to start a phone service too.

(This was adapted from an original story provided by News10 KXTV Sacramento.)

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