I was reading a post on 100 alternative search engines over at /. .org, taking an interest in the Artificial Intelligence searches. We all remember AskJeeves, which was supposed to be within the AI class of engines, but it never worked fully according to plan. I stumbled over a link to ChaCha Search which has Guided Searches and randomply put in "How old can an elephant become?" to see what happened. Here’s a transcript:
Status: Connecting …
Status: Looking for a guide …
Status: Connected to guide: BrendaC
BrendaC: Welcome to ChaCha!
BrendaC: Hello there!
You: What is this?
BrendaC: Search engine.
You: And you are?
You: Man or machine?
BrendaC: Do you still need the info you requested?
BrendaC: It’s ok :)
You: I was just referred here to test out the guided version.
You: So, you are live support in finding stuff?
You: Neat. You happy with that?
BrendaC: Passes the time and make money.
You: Well, sorry to have taken your time. I just came here to check this out, so:)
You: have a nice day!
BrendaC: You too…..thanks
BrendaC: Thank you for using ChaCha!
Status: Session ended.
I had jumped to the conclusion that the Guided Search was some kind of AskJeeves-type of narrowing down alternatives. Instead they actually have paid people who guide the surfer to the right answers. People Powered Search. I almost felt bad for having wasted her time with my nonsense search string. Should’ve asked her out for dinner, to make it all right again. I already tried to talk Eliza into a date. Talk about artificial intelligence, huh?