I’m always hesitant to post something that might have been out for a while and I look like someone that is slow to keep up, but although others have posted about ChaCha, the human edited search engine, I think there are a lot of others who have not heard about it. So as the generic business guy would say, I’m going to do my due diligence and talk about it for those who are unaware. 🙂

Today a friend asked if I had ever heard of “ChaCha“. Obviously my first thought was the dance, but then when he said “a search engine”, I quickly pulled it up online. I noticed the normal search field and then two search buttons; 1. Normal Search 2. Search With Guide. Here is a snapshot:


So once you enter a search phrase, you can either use the “ChaCha Search” button and have typical search results returned, or you can click the “Search With Guide” button and you are taken to a page that has a left sidebar which is a chat window, then on the right there is a blank page, which is where the guides results will eventually appear. A guide, as they refer to them, is the human on the other end that is specialized in the particular category you are searching in. Looking at the ChaCha Underground, there appear to be thousands of guides over all the main categories. The guide then strikes up a chat with you and helps narrow down a few search results that they feel will meet your needs. I have saved my conversation so you could see my questioning and her answers:

Status: Looking for a guide …
Status: Connected to guide: KendraN
KendraN: Welcome to ChaCha!
KendraN: Hello
KendraN: How are you today?
You: hi kendra
You: i’m just checking out your site
KendraN: okay, what can I help you find?
You: so lets say i’m searching for “text advertising” … do you tell me sites? or give me results you think are bests?
KendraN: I would give you the link to the sites that has the best information
KendraN: Guides are supposed to give you at least three sites
You: Ok, so can you provide results for “text advertising” ?
KendraN: sure, just one moment
KendraN: These would be the type of sites I would give you and then ask if this was what you were looking for
KendraN: If yes, woot! We’re done, if no, I would clarify what you are looking for and search more.
You: How many live guides are available at any given time?
KendraN: I don’t really know, but probably hundreds
KendraN: There are alot of us
KendraN: We come online as we please
You: Do you volunteer to do this? or do you actually all work for the same company?
KendraN: We are considered private contractors
KendraN: We are not employed by them, but they pay us for the work that we do
KendraN: We are paid per time searching
You: Very cool. Now is the search database chacha uses actually their own or another engines?
KendraN: We have our own
KendraN: But the guides can use any resources we like
You: Where is chacha located? The home office I guess?
KendraN: I am not sure
You: I’m sure I could probably find it on the site

I asked how one becomes a guide but I was just referred to their website. From what I can tell, they are not accepting guides any more. It appears they have plenty and in order to pay all of these people, I would imagine they need to earn a good bit on advertising.

It’s a very interesting concept and it’s a little slower than just using a normal search engine, but it just comes down to preference. One good thing about normal search is it’s anonymous, so you can search for whatever you want and pick the sites you want. Using another human, although you’re not right in front of them, it’s not so anonymous. It also is slow and you are going on another person’s decision rather than you getting to select what you feel is best.