A few weeks ago, I met at a Tweetup with Justin Keller from ChaCha.com and a few others that were in town visiting for Sundance.Â He gave me a cool, free scarf with the Cha Cha and Sundance Logos on it.Â It was my first official “Sundance Swag”.Â Â That was also my first introduction to Cha Cha, and from then on I heard a lot of cool things on Twitter about Cha Cha, and lots of celebrities up in Sundance that were loving it.
Today, that meetup had meaning when my brother called me from I-40 in New Mexico on his way to Las Vegas, between Gallup and Albuquerque saying he was stranded.Â He wanted to know why traffic was at a standstill on what would usually be a pretty vacant Road (it is in the middle of the desert!).Â I checked Google, couldn’t find any traffic info for that area.Â Then I checked Google Maps to look at the traffic, and no traffic showed for the area.Â I checked accuweather.com and weather.com to see if it might be weather, but couldn’t see any evidence.
Then I remembered Cha Cha had a “Human Powered” search engine.Â I sent a question to “242242” (CHACHA on your cell phone) via text message on my iPhone asking why my brother was at a standstill.Â Within just a couple minutes I received a response saying they were cleaning up after near white-out conditions, and to wait out until they cleared up the roads.Â A link was attached, which also told me there were several accidents ahead and the road was closed (I love my iPhone’s browser!).Â I quickly called my brother and told him the details so he could decide to find the nearest hotel and wait it out.
Cha Cha in this case saved my brother from a pretty tough situation!Â Consider Cha Cha your personal, real life social, search engine for your cell phone – you send it a text message, a human “guide” that gets paid $.20 per transaction sends you your answer back, with a link to the source(s).Â There is also a web version, which takes you to a chat box where you can ask a live person your question.Â I had worse results with that – the person just returned a bunch of vague links with no real answer.
Regardless of my one bad experience, I have now added 242242 to my cell phone contacts list.Â It will be my new friend when I need to find things on the go.Â Don’t forget to add it to your contacts!