ChaCha Now Answering 1M Questions Daily

ChaCha introduced a new Facebook app that submits questions to users' Facebook networks and to ChaCha simultaneously:

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 rapidly returns an answer from its huge database of hundreds of millions of answers. ChaCha will show up as another friend with an answer to the Facebook user along with answers from their network of friends. Users can also select "add to profile" to get a permanent "Ask ChaCha" prompt on their profile pages.

Additionally, Facebookers can select "share" when they submit a question, and the question and answers will post to their friends' Facebook walls. 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.

It allows users to ask select members of their networks or the entire network. 

Picture 12

There are a few interesting things going on here in my mind:

  • This turns ChaCha into a Yahoo Answers-like service on Facebook
  • Facebook has this capability itself but it hasn't really developed fully on its own; this app (if successful) might further accelerate the creation of a Q&A culture on Facebook
  • ChaCha makes money through mobile advertising and by showing ads on its PC website, so it is relatively "agnostic" about where questions come from 

Google just bought Aardvark for $50 million. ChaCha might be attractive to Microsoft or another potential buyer for similar reasons; however 90%+ of ChaCha's answers are coming via an index of previously answered questions for cost/efficiency reasons. That database will provide the answers for these questions rather than real-time human responses; Facebook provides the human answers in this case. 

The company also says it's answering a million questions a day. Though very impressive that's much smaller volume than a conventional search engine.

ChaCha has raised $52 million in several funding rounds.

Related: ChaCha Growing, Now It Needs More Advertisers

Update: CEO Scott Jones provided the following clarifications and addition information to me in email:

Yes, we are at a million answers a day… which is less than online search, but perhaps a better comparison is that we’re ahead of google’s mobile text answers service which has been out for a few years AND it is radically higher than aardvark’s daily answers (through both web and iphones).

In addition to facebookers answering questions, we also will continue to have guides answering questions. Both human/social ingredients are important to provide relevance (which google lacks), accuracy (which google also lacks, hence the million results dumped in your lap for you to figure it out), and speed (which aardvark lacks even when they sometimes do provide an answer).