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Palo Alto, CA, United States, 2008/08/18 - Based on its recent analysis of the mobile data services market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes ChaCha Search, Inc. (ChaCha) with the 2008 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Product Innovation.
ChaCha was identified for its successful discovery of the key requirements of mobile search users as well as for its offer of a unique solution that provides the most enhanced user experience within the mobile environment.
Efficient and quick discovery of mobile content has been an unmet objective in the U.S. mobile data services markets. Mobile search implementations are important tools to help shorten the 'click-distance' to content and information on mobile phones. Immediacy and shorter session durations are the defining characters of the mobile environment, and subscribers expect quick results in response to their search queries.
"While online search solutions largely focus on returning relevant listings or links to sites that have the best probability of providing the information the user is looking for, there are certain challenges to replicating this framework in resource-constrained mobile environments," says Frost & Sullivan Senior Analyst Vikrant Gandhi. "Mobile data sessions are of relatively smaller durations, and the user-experience can be enhanced by providing accurate and relevant 'answers' instead of links for users."
ChaCha provides a Mobile Answers service that leverages a unique combination of technology and human intelligence to deliver accurate results to mobile subscribers. The service allows mobile subscribers to ask specific questions – any question – through standard text messaging or voice. The query is parsed and routed to the most appropriate human Guide that is logged on to ChaCha's system – selected according to both semantics and syntax of the query. The Guides are responsible for searching for answers from various online sources of information and selecting the best answer, which is then sent to the subscriber's handset by text-message. Information about the source, as well as the guide performing the search, is also provided to the user via a short url located at the end of the answer.
The significance of ChaCha's Mobile Answers service lies in its simplicity, usability, mass-market approach, and collective human intelligence. ChaCha's service is device-independent and can be used from any text-messaging capable mobile phone. There is no client that needs to be installed on the handset, nor do the mobile subscribers need to subscribe to a data plan to use the mobile search service. ChaCha leverages other publicly available sources of information – including search engines – to provide the right answer, thus virtually allowing users to search the best source of information. Other search engines return links from websites that they have crawled and indexed, and depending upon the indexing and ranking algorithms, the relevancy of the links returned can vary significantly.
"Interestingly, more than 70 percent of new users text a query to ChaCha more than one time and 22.5 percent of users text more than twenty five times per month," remarks Gandhi. "This is a clear indication of the 'stickiness' of ChaCha's service, which is both entertaining and productive."
ChaCha continues to work on improving the service's user experience. The company currently works with more than 15,000 Guides that are responsible for performing the actual search, and has filed nearly 25 patents to manage the workflow and improve its platform. ChaCha's patented system learns from the acquired results by storing the best-rated search results and providing these results automatically (without routing to the human Guide) for similar searches in the future. This allows the platform to scale considerably and handle increased volumes of search queries. There is tremendous potential for mobile advertising within ChaCha's service as well.
ChaCha has clearly identified the missing pieces in mobile search and developed a unique solution to address the key requirements of mobile subscribers. The company's success is attributed to its keen understanding of the mobile subscribers' requirements, and offering simple yet highly effective solutions to meet the hitherto unmet market need. In recognition of its innovative approach and success in the industry, Frost & Sullivan is proud to present the 2008 Product Innovation Award in Mobile Search to ChaCha.
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated excellence in new products and technologies within its industry. The recipient company has shown innovation by launching a set of emerging products and technologies.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.
About ChaCha Search, Inc.
ChaCha (chacha.com), a free Mobile Answers service, allows users to call 1-800-2ChaCha™ or text questions to ChaCha (242242™) on mobile phones and receive answers within minutes. ChaCha expert Guides — trained and skilled individuals — use ChaCha's powerful internal patent-pending search tools to respond to any query. Created by serial entrepreneur Scott A. Jones (scottajones.com) and Brad Bostic (blog.bradbostic.com), ChaCha is funded by Bezos Expeditions, the personal investment firm of Jeff Bezos; Morton Meyerson, former President and Vice Chairman of EDS as well as Chairman and CEO of Perot Systems; Rod Canion, founding CEO of Compaq Computer; and Jack Gill, well-known Silicon Valley venture capitalist.
About Frost & Sullivan
Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, partners with clients to accelerate their growth. The company's TEAM Research, Growth Consulting and Growth Team Membership™ empower clients to create a growth-focused culture that generates, evaluates and implements effective growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan employs over 45 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from more than 30 offices on six continents.