We’re Searching…Hold Please…

You’ve got Google, Yahoo and MSN, but you can’t be ‘arsed using any of them. What do you do?

You could turn to ChaCha, an entirely new search engine that employs human guides to search for you – an idea so insane it’s either going to make the founders millions, or it’s going to go absolutely nowhere.

My first impression on hearing this wild new strategy was that speed may be an issue. And I was right. I typed in the query “is there anybody out there”. I got the answer “please wait until search results are retrieved…”. I waited a few seconds. Then a few minutes. I’m still waiting, actually.

However, this is an alpha release, so there are bound to be teething problems. Perhaps the “Esoteric Questions Guide” is asleep.

I’m trying to figure out if this is a joke, but SEW reported it, so I assume it is for real. Or perhaps SEW need to get Danny Sullivan back really, really quickly to reassert editorial control.

Anyway, ChaCha has an interesting business model – guides can work up to a level where they get paid – wait for it – $10 per hour. Guides will be scrambling up the hierarchy, presumably because there’s some ego-trip status in doing so, to reach that payment level. Sounds a lot like the DMOZ model, but with an extra $10! Please form an orderly queue.

It remains to be seen where this will go, but I’m damn interested to find out. Are people going to wait minutes for their search results? Are they going to ask for dodgy porn? How about researching that embarassing rash they’ve just developed?

The jury remains out…

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