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Human Powered Search Engine Premiers

     
4:07 pm on Sep 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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[sfgate.com...]

new search engine model that employs thousands of paid "guides," who will provide live one-on-one help to users who need extra assistance tracking down online information. The free service, called ChaCha.com, goes live today as a test and is expected to go into full beta later this year.
4:11 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Now my question is what search engine the guides will be using. ;)
4:20 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I tried and got a blank screen each time...

The Search with guide went ok - I never seen any results I search for "cheap holidat to Tenerife" as an example.

The guide asked if that was in the canary islands. doh! Asked for a price range and then he said he would get another guide to better help with my search.

The next person posted a URL that was dead.
Done a search on Yahoo Travel for me, and before I could say anything they cut me off.

First impression - bad.

4:21 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Good question there... but then again, the guides could probably be helping you fine tune your search queries to get better results rather than actually giving/showing them results unlike google answers or yahoo answers.

huh... displaying the results is taking ages in firefox when i tried to do searched. Not even 1 search gave me any kind of results, leave online me checking for relevancy. probably their servers are hit hard.

Cheers

4:26 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The ideas seems to be interesting , but there might be various practical problems , like number of queries they would be handling using guides help.

Further i feel that this doesnt ends up to one more pay for inclusion type facility as there is full human intervetion in the results.

The website is still in apha stage and not showing up results i tried up couple of keywords may be they are still working on that expert field

anyways its good step and hopes it makes web better place to live in

4:29 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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After trying several different searches, I've yet to see what the results screen looks like! I presume that the 'ChaCha Search' is still under development and every time I tried to 'Search with Guide', it said that it couldn't find a guide. In fact, the only thing that loaded was the ads! Pity that they were completely untargeted...

However, I reckon this is the way of the future for search and as the article says, is probably the only way that a startup will be able to challenge Google.

4:44 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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isn't this the same model as About.com?
4:46 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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This seems like an interesting concept if they can get it up and running. I reviewed the site and think it would be interesting to be a guide. I would love to find someone to send me an invite. I have been a dmoz editor for years and think this may be the next step.
4:55 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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They will be typically paid from $5 to $10 an hour and the company will recruit among college students, retirees and stay-at-home parents.

And hundreds more in Webmasters buying their "unbiased opinions"

There's no way this will work...

4:57 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Not sure about the name though, it's rather close to caca, which in french would be baby talk for human excrements.
4:57 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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ajwebmaster beat me to the question I was going to ask. It sounds like About to me, which, BTW, is doing well since the New York Times Company bought them.
5:01 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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isn't this the same model as About.com?

Not really, because it's "one on one." It seems to be more like Google Answers applied to search--or like getting help from a reference librarian at the public library.

If the "guides" really know what they're doing, it might be a useful fee- or subscription-based service for businesses.

5:15 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think this is an awesome idea. The business and revenue model however does concern me somewhat. I hope that it is sustainable.

It was mentioned also but I wonder about the "bias" of the helper. If I were searching for a pizza place is he going to send me to the one his sister works at? Could be a problem unless his sister makes really good pizza.

Also I wonder about their indexed content and how much caching they do and how much human involvement there is with it.

I recently had a conversation about the legallity of Google cahce and it was suggested that one of the ways they are allowed to index all that content has a lot to do with the limited human involvement. I wonder if this will pose any legal problems?

5:22 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Their problem arises when they get too many guides and loss of quality control. Here's a model that would work better. Tell the world you are hiring thousands of workers, just hire one really smart 12 year old in India who can type fast and when they ask for a query, the kid will look it up in Google and give them the answer.
5:22 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It was mentioned also but I wonder about the "bias" of the helper. If I were searching for a pizza place is he going to send me to the one his sister works at

I'd be more worried about the advertising model and how that would affect bias.

Added: In other words, is ChaCha going to introduce PPR (Pay Per Recommendation) as a model for search?

5:28 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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isn't MSN doing some live human editing of results also?
5:33 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I just tried it and the message is that they have significant traffic and ask me to come back soon.

It did suggest I give them my email to be notified when a guide is available or to become a ChaCha guide. So for the person who wondered how to sign up there is your invite.

I think this is a case of the news getting out too early. They needed to be at least in beta before they got all this publicity.

If they can avoid the pay per recommendation model I think they will do better. People still expect the internet to be free. It's just a matter of if they can get enough advertizing to pay for it.

[edited by: annej at 5:36 pm (utc) on Sep. 5, 2006]

5:35 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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> isn't MSN doing some live human editing of results also?

No. spam control only. The story out there about them trying to hire for something like that, was bogus.

6:24 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Alpha is broken, blank searches as commented before.
7:16 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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There is nothing but an advertisement on the page and a note saying that you should come back soon... ummm...and this a front page story?
7:22 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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This is is a surpising first time human powered. No one has ever tried anything like this before. Especially someone with money and resources. Looks like they are currently bird dogging for more of the later ($$). Once this puppy comes out, I think it will be very significant.

This is just day one of the story I think is going to be very big about March of next year.

It also stands to win the relevance race.

"The results are significantly better because we're incorporating human intelligence into the mix."

Even the lowest level se could seem pretty smart with humans behind it.

7:31 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Even the lowest level se could seem pretty smart with humans behind it.

And just imagine how smart a high level SE could seem with humans behind it. If ChaCha proves the model, it will surely be implemented by the major players. And in the polished form that ChaCha will absorb the cost of development.

7:36 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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neat model. I am concerned about their burn rate though. Sounds like a cash intensive enterprise. If their advertising model pans out then great if not ..

Don

7:39 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Human Powered Search Engine ChaCha - Can it Out Google Google?

IMO - no! :)

8:21 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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In reality if they have thousands of people ready, why not get about 1 billion web pages together and then have them sift out the #*$!e based on the top 10,000 domains.

They could highlight 'trustworthy' sources that would be crawled on a regular basis for new content and leave others to be listed as and when based on the accuracy of reults.

IMHO that would put them close to being better than the current G mess.... certainly better than Y and M$ too....

9:07 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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TinkyWinky posted excatly what I was going to post!

Excatly right: why don't they just foward all this "human" effort to clean out the spam out of regular search and it'll be 10 better!

I think MSN got it right. Google is up to on this idea too - remember their very recent patent on "human/machine" results...

9:17 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like it might evolve into a glorified DMOZ.

For those of us with great sites, is there a way we can let these "guides" know that we exist?

9:41 pm on Sept 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I am for anything to outseat Google, but I do not think Chacha will do so. I just tried the system, it doesn't work. PR 101, do not announce a service that doesn't work.... Alpha or Beta...
1:35 am on Sept 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If any ones intersted in becoming a "guide" you have to be reffered by another guide took me all day but I got in! After doing the training I helped on a search kind of fun it paid me $0.58 for helping. If any one else wants to give it a try sticky me your email, and Ill invite you.

Donny

7:58 am on Sept 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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it will NEVER work good enough to make an impact. Why? Most of us are impatient. Why should I wait till the guide searches the web for me, when I can do it myself?
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