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
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 mediaVillage.com
"Asking the Internet" (October 4, 2006)
Google Operating System
"Start-up pays people to answer questions online," by Elinor Mills
(September 3, 2006)
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.]