Mobile question and answer startup ChaCha has been able to turnaround its model, possibly achieve profitability, and raise boatloads of money, much to our surprise. Today, ChaCha is rolling out a Facebook application allows users open access to questions and answers from both ChaCha and all of their friends.
With ChaCha’s Facebook App, when individuals pose a question to any friends within their social network, the question is also automatically submitted to ChaCha. ChaCha returns an answer from its database of hundreds of millions of answers. Users can also select “add to profile” to get a permanent “Ask ChaCha” prompt on their profile pages.
Additionally, users can select “share” when they submit a question, and the question and answers will post to their friends’ Facebook walls that they select. Individuals receive points for questions they answer for pure recognition and fun, and based on points attainment, users receive different titles which are displayed on a leader board. ChaCha has also recently launched an iPhone App and Twitter integration via @chacha, so people can ask questions on the microblogging platform.
ChaCha has rolled out its API, allowing developers to tap into the startup’s database with of questions and answers. ChaCha offers developers three variations of its API’s: Quick ChaCha Answer (query the API with a specific question, get an answer instantly); Top ChaCha Answers (query the API with a general topic or keyword(s) and get a list of the most popular answers); and ChaCha Trends (query the API to find out what the world is asking about).
Launched in 2007, ChaCha started as a human powered search engine – meaning a human found you answers when you typed in a query. ChaCha encountered the high cost of hiring humans to basically do Google searches and return results to people but then evolved into a mobile version of the service that lets users ask questions via SMS. The site also archives questions and answers on their website, with 500 million of them currently listed on the ChaCha site. ChaCha is answering one million questions a day via SMS, passing Google as the no. 1 SMS search service according to Nielsen Mobile.