Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Search Engines ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Search Engines
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: saje-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 30 Nov 2006 12:55 PST
Expires: 30 Dec 2006 12:55 PST
Question ID: 787195
Why is ChaCha so much better than Google Answers?

Request for Question Clarification by justaskscott-ga on 30 Nov 2006 20:45 PST
ChaCha does have certain features that distinguish it from Google
Answers.  (Of course, one can note -- as Aceresearcher has done --
that Google Answers has features that distinguish it from ChaCha too. 
Incidentally, I don't think that ChaCha requires its guides to use its
search engine; this is based on my experience with ChaCha and the
broad references to "internet searching" and "search engines and
resources used by Guides" on ChaCha's "About Us" page: .)  Would you be interested in an
answer that emphasizes the features that distinguish it from Google
Answers, with citations to web pages indicating that such features are

Clarification of Question by saje-ga on 30 Nov 2006 22:17 PST
Yes, that would be helpful to distinguish ChaCha from Google Answers
and also from Yahoo Answers (which is free to use but does not pay
those who answer questions... and Y-A provides "get what you pay for"

It appears that AceResearcher didn't do his or her "research" though
because ChaCha does indeed allow (and encourage) guides to use
whatever resources will help guides assist users in finding the
information they are looking for, within the bounds of what is legal. 
Guides are also associated with specific keywords and categories so
that they can have their favorite resources immediately accessible as
soon as the query comes in from the user.  This means that guides can
deliver fast service to users using the resources they value the most.

Also, AceResearcher is quite wrong about there being no vetting
process for guides.  There is an extensive vetting process that
stratifies guides into levels of apprentice, pro, master, and elite. 
Those who ask questions are not exposed to apprentices who have not
proven themselves on their keywords and categories.  (Having said
that, ChaCha is not even a month into their beta release so they are
still working out the kinks as has been identified by the media
extensively already).

Furthermore, there is a sponsor system (the way that guides sign up)
that strongly motivates sponsors to vet new guides that they are
sponsoring into the system.  It is a scalable vetting system.  Lastly,
guides are continuously re-ranked in the system so that users are
provided with the best guides available at any given time.  As the
system scales, that mechanism works better and better.

And, finally, AceResearcher is also off base in incorrectly asserting
that ChaCha only provides paid placement results.  Like Google (and
Yahoo), ChaCha provides paid placement results in addition to results
based on relevance.  And when available from its fast-growing "human
touched" results database, ChaCha often provides much more relevant
results than any of the top traditional search engines.  See
information from several sources at for

Before you do your research, I just wanted to make sure that
AceResearcher didn't throw you off track.  Thanks for your help!
Subject: Re: Search Engines
Answered By: justaskscott-ga on 19 Dec 2006 05:01 PST
Hello saje,

Disclaimer: Of course, as a Google Answers Researcher, I'm not in a
position to state a personal opinion that ChaCha is better than Google
Answers.  (Moreover, please note that I am an independent contractor,
and do not speak on Google's behalf.)

However, I think that I can list features that differentiate ChaCha
from Google Answers, along with arguments that one can make that those
features favor ChaCha.  (I will bypass potential arguments that Google
Answers is better than or as good as ChaCha, since you did not ask for

Feature 1.  ChaCha is free; Google Answers requires payment.

Argument 1.  Some people cannot afford to pay for information.  Some
people do not want to pay for information, or at least would choose
not to pay when presented with a free option.  Some might want to pay
for information from time to time, but would ask for information more
frequently if given a free option.  Such people are more likely to use
ChaCha -- or use it more often -- than Google Answers.

Feature 2.  Users of ChaCha do not need register before requesting
information; Google Answers requires registration.

Argument 2.  Registration takes time, and requires that you trust the
site with your personal information.  As a result, some people will
not register with a site such as Google Answers, or at least would
prefer to use a site such as ChaCha that does not require

Feature 3.  In contrast to users of Google Answers, users of ChaCha do
not post their questions for all to see.

Argument 3.  It might embarrass some people to post questions on
sensitive topics on Google Answers.  Such people may feel less anxiety
about asking such questions to a single ChaCha guide, in a discrete
transaction that is not posted on the ChaCha website.

Feature 4.  On ChaCha, users and Guides can chat; on Google Answers,
users and Researchers can post.

Argument 4.  ChaCha allows rapid feedback between the user and the
researcher, so that each can quickly learn what the other person is
thinking and can refine their own thoughts.  Google Answers allows
feedback and refinement, but at a slower pace and in a less natural
way than the free-flowing conversation on ChaCha.

Feature 5.  Information requests typically receive faster replies on
ChaCha than on Google Answers.

Argument 5.  Some people want a quick answer to their requests for
information.  Some questions on Google Answers receive replies within
minutes; but others receive replies only days or weeks later, or not
at all.  ChaCha is designed for more immediate replies in most cases.

Feature 6.  ChaCha Guides explicitly specialize in searches for
certain keywords and categories; Google Answers Researchers do not.

Argument 6.  Individual ChaCha Guides presumably have expertise in the
keywords and categories in which they explicitly specialize.  They are
likely to try to use and develop that expertise guiding searches on
those topics -- out of pride in their work and for more financial
reward.  (As noted in your clarification, they are also provided with
resources to support their searches on these topics.)  The results of
their work should benefit both the user asking the initial question
and subsequent users with similar questions who search without a Guide
and find these results.

Feature 7.  There are more ChaCha Guides than Google Answers Researchers.

Argument 7.  All things being equal, a larger number of persons should
collectively have more interests, knowledge, abilities, and
perspectives than a smaller number of persons.  (On ChaCha, those
facets would be reflected to a significant degree in the keywords and
categories in which individuals specialize.)  Accordingly, the larger
group of researchers on ChaCha are more likely to have the interest
and ability to reply to a wide range of questions than the smaller
group of researchers on Google Answers.

Points 2-6 appear to apply also to ChaCha relative to Yahoo! Answers.

For ChaCha's perspective on the differences between ChaCha and Google
Answers (as well as Yahoo! Answers) and the relative advantages of
ChaCha, please see:

"Google Answers Folds," by Justin 
ChaCha Blog

For additional articles stating views that ChaCha is better than
Google Answers, see:

"Answers Marketplace: Google Folds, Yahoo! Explodes, and Helium
Rises," by Jerry Weinstein (December 12th 2006) [paragraph on ChaCha
about 2/3 down the page]
Jack Myers

"Asking the Internet" (October 4, 2006)
Google Operating System

"Start-up pays people to answer questions online," by Elinor Mills
(September 3, 2006)

- justaskscott

Search strategy:

Searched on Google, Google Blog Search, and Google News Archive Search for:

chacha "google answers"

[Note to saje: I hope that you don't mind that I used Google products,
rather than ChaCha, in my search.  I am doing this a Google Answers
Researcher, after all.  :-)  ]

[I also relied on knowledge derived from use and browsing of ChaCha,
Google Answers, and Yahoo! Answers in composing this answer.]

Clarification of Answer by justaskscott-ga on 19 Dec 2006 05:17 PST
I hope that the structure of my answer -- "Feature 1", "Argument 1",
"Feature 2", "Argument 2", etc. -- doesn't detract in your view from
the substance of the answer.  This structure did feel a bit awkward to
me.  Nevertheless, I employed this format in order to make clear that
I was presenting a set of arguments for ChaCha's superiority to Google
Answers, rather than my personal opinion / the opinion of a Google
Answers Researcher.
Subject: Re: Search Engines
From: pinkfreud-ga on 30 Nov 2006 15:59 PST
I suppose it could be said that something alive is, in some sense,
better than something dead.

But by that logic, Britney Spears is better than Ella Fitzgerald.
Subject: Re: Search Engines
From: aceresearcher-ga on 30 Nov 2006 20:10 PST
It would be hard to consider ChaCha better than Google Answers.

While ChaCha *might* provide some search assistance more quickly than
Google Answers, because there was not a "vetting" process for ChaCha
guides, the quality of that assistance is much more variable than for

Google Answers Researchers were able (and encouraged) to use every
search method at their disposal to come up with information for their

ChaCha guides are required to use ChaCha's Search engine, which
provides results based on paid placement rather than on search
relevance, as Google does.

Since ChaCha guides are only paid for the first 10 minutes of their
search, there is not a lot of motivation to keep searching in order to
produce the best possible results. Certainly in-depth, detailed
research of the sort often requested on Google Answers is simply not
available through ChaCha.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy