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Most people are unlikely to find themselves stranded without Internet access these days, but in case they ever are and need quick information, they can rely on ChaCha.
ChaCha provides answers to users’ questions when they text 242242 on their cell phones. ‘Guides’ employed by the service all over the country receive the inquiries on their home computer screens, on which they research the answers and send replies. Most questions asked consist of movie times, word definitions, driving directions and restaurant or store locations.
Although representatives of services like ChaCha insist that they are facilitating use of numerous information-gathering sites, many students are asking themselves why this service matters with Google just a click away.’
‘Being able to get quick answers from your phone is pretty convenient,’ Ryan Dailey, a College of Communication sophomore, said. ‘But I feel most people can either get the information somewhere else, such as their BlackBerry or iPhone browser, or they can wait till they get to a computer.’
Matt Roosa, who worked for ChaCha over the summer, agreed that the company’s services are ‘pretty useless’ unless users are far from a computer. He even suggested that some of ChaCha’s ‘guides’ do not check all of their information, sending out the wrong answers at times.
‘Sometimes, the source websites used are inaccurate, which does not necessarily put the guide at fault but definitely makes ChaCha look bad by sending out bad information,’ Roosa said in an email.
On the other end of the screen, Roosa said he found this problem to occur often and finally resigned from the company.
‘It became so frustrating to deal with the pointless questions to the extent that I’ve now stopped working and haven’t been on the ChaCha server since August,’ Roosa said. ‘[Texters] used ChaCha as a type of virtual Magic 8 ball, where a real person was giving a response, and it was longer than ‘Yes,’ ‘No’ or ‘Try Again Later.”

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