“ChaCha is amazing. It answers all my questions no matter how strange they are, like when I want to know who smells funny,” said Phillip Langley, junior.
Langley is talking about ChaCha, a mobile answers text service company that launched in January 2008 at the Sundance Film Festival. Thousands of people have joined this service ever since, and now, ChaCha answers millions of questions every month.
ChaCha works by answering calls or texts anytime for free; only normal text or voice charges from the carrier apply. It works with 98 percent of providers and almost any mobile phone device. Any question asked in conversational English will be answered as accurately as possible in a text message within a few minutes. Each question is sent to a trained ChaCha Guide educated in the subject. The Guide researches the question and sends back the answer as soon as possible. He or she can see previous questions in order to understand a follow up question.
As soon as somebody texts a question to “ChaCha” (242242) or calls 1-800-224-2242 (1-800-2ChaCha), the question is immediately routed to the most knowledgeable person on that topic in the ChaCha Guide community. The answer is then returned shortly as a text message.
For new users, ChaCha provides an easy, user-friendly way to learn.
ChaCha is available any time of day. A question is directly sent to one of the many ChaCha Guides, but for local questions, simply stating the location will send the question to a guide familiar with the area.
Only standard text messaging rates from the carrier apply. However, there are some usage limits in order to keep ChaCha free and accessible to everyone. Only the ChaCha Thmbsavrs are unlimited. These include texting ‘M’ for movie times or texting ‘CNJ’ for Chuck Norris jokes. Quick searches are especially convenient, such as for information about the weather. For fast access to weather, simply text, for example, ‘w Raleigh,nc’ or ‘weather 27613’ and ChaCha will send back:
Thu: 23F-98F, Partly Cloudy
Fri: 60F-61F, Decreasing Clouds
Sat: 78F-90F, Sunny
It is possible to ask more than one question in a single text message, but ChaCha advises only sending one question per text. Answers can only contain a maximum of 160 characters.
ChaCha replies to every question with at least two text messages, a question confirmation message and answer message. ChaCha works with advertisers to provide targeted offers and messages to ChaCha users. All advertisements are included after an asterisk.
“I love ChaCha!” said Mark Conrad, junior. “It is so useful. ChaCha helps me answer questions on tests that I don’t know.”
Although ChaCha will work its hardest to answer any question, it has a strict policy against certain words and phrases in questions. ChaCha will not answer questions that pertain to topics deemed unacceptable or dangerous.
“I know that ChaCha can’t answer every question out there,” admitted Langley. “But I still like to ask him weird questions once in a while, like ‘did they find the body?’ or something like that. It’s still really fun for entertainment.”