ChaCha, an Indianapolis based, real time search service closed a $3 million funding round earlier this week. The cash infusion is to support the expansion of its mobile service. The round in fact, is an extension of an earlier $25 million funding round back in October 2010. The somewhat more-newsworthy portion of this round is that Qualcomm Ventures accounted for $900,000 of the $3 million investment.
ChaCha has raised a total of $75 million since launching in December 2005. Since the beginning, the self-described “human search engine”helps users get their answers through independent contractors who answer their questions in real time. In turn, this is building ChaCha quite the database of Q&A’s. But where ChaCha has made the most headway in the last year is in its SMS and voice search functionality — more than likely the reason Qualcomm is interested.
According to the official press release, ChaCha answers over 3 million questions daily, 2 million being on SMS. With over 32 million unique visitors a month, it touts itself as one of the top 100 websites in the world according to ComScore. The biggest feather in the ChaCha’s cap though, is that it still is #1 as far as mobile text traffic is concerned, ahead of Google.
We wondered about ChaCha’s effectiveness, so we did a spot test. The answer below is from; “What is the best time to visit Prague?” As you can see, the answer that came up was Fall. In fact this is the best time statistically. The leaves are turning and everyone wants to see the splash of color across the Prague backdrop. Good job ChaCha.
The long and short of this story, for the traveler? Whether stuck trying to find your hotel, dumb to any good places to eat on your layover, or just wanting to find out the movie times for a theater, any theater close to your hotel — ChaCha mobile could be your best friend. Text your question to 242-242, call 1-800-2-ChaCha, visit m.chacha.com, or even tweet them at @chacha on Twitter — and your question will be answered in a matter of seconds.
On the down side of ChaCha, don’t expect perfect grammar everywhere on the site. The “grammar police” would have a field day with the text below from ChaCha, the interesting parts have been emboldened.
“Saudi Arabia is home to the world’s largest petroleum reservoir in the world. It is also the location of Islam’s two holiest cities, Mecca and Medina. Saudi Arabia is a key nation in the Middle East, representing the Arab populations (well duh). The nation is ruled by King Abdullah.” (His proper name is; King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz, but of course ChaCha knows him personally)
Okay, if that passage up there came from a native English speaker it simply had to be from the deep, deep, deep South. But then ChaCha never said its answers come from Oxford trained linguists I guess? All joking aside, ChaCha has come a long way and provides an ever more interesting service travelers can take advantage of too.
It’s the easiest way to make sure you’re always ‘in the know’ when you travel. ChaCha, never leave home without it.