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Indiana University Dumps Google for ChaCha

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the forbidden-dance dept.

Education 211

theodp writes "Come Monday, no more Indiana University searches will be powered by computer-driven Google. Only by people-powered ChaCha. The move was announced by new IU President Michael McRobbie, who until recently sat on ChaCha's Board of Directors (5-29 SEC filing, PDF). IU will draft hundreds of librarians and IT employees to be ChaCha Guides for the university's websites, although a FAQ accompanying IU's press release tells librarians not to expect any checks for their efforts from ChaCha, which IU notes is backed by Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Compaq founder Rod Canion."

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AskJeeves2? (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117477)

Does ChaCha have its own engine or does it rely on all the other ones? The "personal service" feature will die-off if enough people try to use it.

Re:AskJeeves2? (4, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117519)

I'm imagining a bunch of "guides" searching Google for you instead of letting you do it yourself.

Seriously though, who knows? Maybe enough people suck at searching to make this service worthwhile, but I don't see how it could ever be profitable. Unless they somehow think they can get away without paying anybody.

Obligatory Beavis AND Butthead quote (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20117735)

Beavis: Diarrhea, ChaChaCha
Butthead: Diarrhea, ChaChaCha
Daria: You guys seriously need to get a life.

MOD PARENT UP! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20118159)

I laughed so hard that I blew Johnnie Walker blue label through my nose. For those of you who don't know, it's $30 dollars per shot.

How does it differ from downloading term papers? (4, Interesting)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117789)


Seriously though, who knows? Maybe enough people suck at searching to make this service worthwhile

Given that much of modern intellectual life has degenerated into seeing who can come up with the best Google searches [or PubMed searches, or arXiv searches, or whatever], how does hiring someone to do your searching for you differ from hiring someone to write your term papers [google.com] for you?

Re:How does it differ from downloading term papers (1)

schon (31600) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118009)

how does hiring someone to do your searching for you differ from hiring someone to write your term papers for you?
I'm pretty sure that nobody gets graded on how good their searches are. :)

Re:How does it differ from downloading term papers (3, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118247)

"I'm pretty sure that nobody gets graded on how good their searches are."

Contrary to popular opinion a respectable degree does not simply cram as many facts into your head as will fit. A university degree is supposed to give one the skills to find known answers to a question, any question!

And quickly! (4, Funny)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117581)

IU's guides could be asked to locate a building on campus, find a book in one of the university's libraries or solve a question about Windows Vista.

Hmmmm, free tech support! And we all know how well people doing tech support are treated.

Students, faculty and the public could ask the IU guides questions, said Brad Wheeler, IU's vice president for information technology. But he isn't worried about them getting overwhelmed. "If it ever became a huge problem, we can gate it," he said.

So, they stick a bunch of people with tech support responsibilities ... and when that bogs down they restrict the number of calls to them.

And yes, that is what will happen.

The only way this will survive is when the "support" people start telling their "customers" to purchase 3rd party software and such from companies that have purchased "ad time" on those "support" people.

"Hello, I'm running Windows Vista and it won't boot up."
"Have you tried the extreme refreshment of Mountain Dew? Many people who use Windows Vista prefer Mountain Dew."
"Will that help me fix Vista?"
"It might. It couldn't hurt. May I also recommend some Dominoes Pizza?"
"Thanks, I'm not hungry."
"Dominoes Pizza is having a special offer today on pepperoni pizzas."
"Okay, I'll order some pizza. How about my Vista problem?"
"Symantec sells a wide range of software products designed to facilitate and enrich your Vista experience."
click

Re:And quickly! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20117771)

I would guess the point is that people aren't doing the tech support. The search engine does the tech support, but the results are populated by humans. It won't take long for all the common queries to have authoritative answers. I don't know how they keep things up to date though.

Re:AskJeeves2? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20117589)

axl rose plays the skin flute

Big news ? (1)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117479)

If they were forcing people to not use google search, that would be news. But who cares about this ?

Who cares? Are you fucking joking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20117511)

Who the hell do you think cares?

Re:Who cares? Are you fucking joking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20117595)

Obviously, not him. Or myself...or anyone I know.

Re:Big news ? (5, Insightful)

irritating environme (529534) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117623)

Um, maybe because public employees are being forced to donate labor toward a private company the university president has glaring conflict-of-interest ties with?

Other than that...

Re:Big news ? (1)

E++99 (880734) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117701)

Um, maybe because public employees are being forced to donate labor toward a private company the university president has glaring conflict-of-interest ties with?

How does using this software to provide help to students and faculty constitute donating labor to a private company? How does having formerly served on the board of the company constitute a conflict of interest, glaring or otherwise?

Re:Big news ? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117729)

How does using this software to provide help to students and faculty constitute donating labor to a private company?

Because it won't help students, it's just a ploy to keep a lame company afloat. If anything, it will hurt students and staff, as it takes tech support employees away from doing real work.

Re:Big news ? (0)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117767)

Because I assure you he still has some sort of profit-sharing mechanism in place as an Ex-Board of Directors Member. Those people don't just leave and see nothing else from the company, especially when they leave, take a position as the head of a university, and then strong-arm the company he just left from into said university.

Re:Big news ? (1)

E++99 (880734) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117801)

It's impossible that he served on the board and made the deal with the company because he believes in the product?

Re:Big news ? (2, Insightful)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117881)

That's fine, but what is not fine is him making decisions in a position of power at IU that have a direct financial effect on a company he still likely receives payment in some form from. That is about as close to conflict of interest as you can get.

Re:Big news ? (1)

E++99 (880734) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118063)

That's fine, but what is not fine is him making decisions in a position of power at IU that have a direct financial effect on a company he still likely receives payment in some form from. That is about as close to conflict of interest as you can get.

Sure, but where do you get the information that he receives payment from the company?

Re:Big news ? (4, Interesting)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118199)

Because no one leaves the Board of a Directors of a company that they think is going to be successful and does a HUGE favor like this, and receives nothing in the end. Since they are not a publicly traded company, their financials don't have to be disclosed either, so no one has any way of verifying this without some sort of official investigation. Even without direct proof, it is still a huge conflict of interest in mine, and many other people's opinions.

Re:Big news ? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118327)

"It's impossible that he served on the board and made the deal with the company because he believes in the product?"

In his position "the right thing to do" is excuse himself from the deal making process regardless of what he thinks about the company or it's products.

Re:Big news ? (3, Informative)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117827)

How does using this software to provide help to students and faculty constitute donating labor to a private company?
The summary says, "IU will draft hundreds of librarians and IT employees to be ChaCha Guides for the university's websites, although a FAQ accompanying IU's press release tells librarians not to expect any checks for their efforts from ChaCha"

Basically, university staff will have to devote time (for which the university pays them) to do things to ChaCha's benefit, and ChaCha will not compensate them. I know, it wasn't immediately obvious from the summary, because whoever wrote it either:

a) is old enough to associate ALL transfers of money with checks, and therefore uses them interchangeably despite the fact that the world has moved on, or

b) is trying to sound folksy by using the metonym "check" to refer to ANY kind of monetary payment.

I hate people who do that, with a passion, whichever set they belong to.

Re:Big news ? (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117993)

Or maybe people should go back to the root of the word and spell it 'cheque' (like everywhere else outside of the U.S.A.) instead of spelling foe-net-ti-clee. :)

Re:Big news ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20118031)

No, I think they were just using "checks" as a shortening of "paychecks". I hope that clarifies your 139-word essay on this triviality.

Re:Big news ? (1)

E++99 (880734) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118051)

The summary says, "IU will draft hundreds of librarians and IT employees to be ChaCha Guides for the university's websites, although a FAQ accompanying IU's press release tells librarians not to expect any checks for their efforts from ChaCha"

Basically, university staff will have to devote time (for which the university pays them) to do things to ChaCha's benefit, and ChaCha will not compensate them.

In the article ChaCha says they'd be happy to pay them, as they pay their other "guides". They're not getting paid by ChaCha because they're doing what is already their job, just using the ChaCha software to do it. i.e., providing information to students, faculty, and the public about the school.

Re:Big news ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20118071)

Basically, university staff will have to devote time (for which the university pays them)....

1) If they're being paid then they're not "donating" anything.

2) If ChaCha is paying anyone it should be the university, NOT the individual librarians (who are already getting paid).

Re:Big news ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20118081)

UbuntuDupe
is old enough to associate ALL transfers of money with checks, and therefore uses them interchangeably despite the fact that the world has moved on, or

Gee, bet you're lots of fun at parties. Don't have an aneurysm, but I still refer to my paycheck as my paycheck even though it's been transferred electronically for my entire working life. Oh noeesss!111!!

Re:Big news ? (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118215)

How does using this software to provide help to students and faculty constitute donating labor to a private company?

He as much as said his staff would be working on behalf of chacha but not to expect any payment from them for it.

How does having formerly served on the board of the company constitute a conflict of interest, glaring or otherwise?

He likely still has substantial stock options or even outright stock.

The fact that he was on the board until just recently doesn't PROVE he has a conflict of interest, but there are plenty of red flags here, enough to warrant an investigation and an independent review of whether or not this move really benefits the university and students.

Re:Big news ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20117715)

They're getting paid to do their jobs, just like always. No one is being forced to donate anything. If they don't like their jobs they can quit.

With all the high-profile waste of taxpayer money and conflicts of interest (Halliburton anyone?) it's unbelievable that this would qualify as news.

What an amazing coincidence. (4, Insightful)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117481)

For the former president of a company to be so prescient so as to recognize ChaCha's innate superiority to the number one worldwide search engine.

I honestly didn't know anyone used ChaCha for anything besides screwing with the people. There have been epic forum threads based on ChaCha.

Re:What an amazing coincidence. (1)

rm999 (775449) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117721)

Seriously, it seems like a major conflict of interest. Why is the president of the University making decisions like this anyway?

Re:What an amazing coincidence. (2, Insightful)

KillerCow (213458) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118041)

Seriously, it seems like a major conflict of interest. Why is the president of the University making decisions like this anyway?


Presidents are only good for making decisions that have conflicts of interest to promote cronyism. You get into those positions because you have ties to important people.

Take a look at U.Waterloo.

Hello Mr. Lazaridis. Yes, you dropped out of our school, but thanks for that 100 Million dollars. How would you like to be our chancellor? You would? Great! What's that? You're company is having space issues? Please take one of our buildings!

Chacha (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118311)

I honestly didn't know anyone used ChaCha for anything besides screwing with the people. There have been epic forum threads based on ChaCha.

This is the first tyme I've heard of the Chacha SE, but now that I have I'll check it out, I frequently check out new SEs I hear about.

Falcon

Come again? (0, Troll)

weak* (1137369) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117491)

Indiana University Dumps Google for ChaCha
You're right, most of Indiana does smell like a dump.

Re:Come again? (1)

Smeagel (682550) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117545)

Ever been to Bloomington? It's a pretty beautiful place. Most of the cities in the US (NYC especially) were built out of Limestone from the surrounding quarries. Beautiful limestone hills, tons of wildlife, lakes, trees, fields, flowers etc.. It also has amazing culture, the #2 music school in the country (behind Juilliard), very good and diverse restaurants, very diverse population. The Dalai Lama's brother actually lives in Bloomington, and the Dalai Lama visits every few years (this year is one of those years). I've lived in the bay area, traveled to most of the lower 48, and currently live in Manhattan - and even with that perspective Bloomington is one of my favorite places I've been. You can continue to hate though if you like....

Re:Come again? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20117633)

Parent must have been a Purdue grad.

Re:Come again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20117869)

You missed another great Bloomington feature: Hot babes all the hell over the place.

Re:Come again? (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117707)

I'll take Indiana over 95% of the rest of the USA. It's a beautiful place to live, especially in the south. Rolling hills, forests, lakes, caves, wildlife, it beats the city any day.

Re:Come again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20117815)

It's still USA though.

For a really nice place to live, look across the borders or overseas :)

Re:Come again? (0, Offtopic)

FSWKU (551325) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118477)

I'll take Indiana over 95% of the rest of the USA. It's a beautiful place to live, especially in the south.
You've obviously never been in the New Albany/Clarksville area...

Obligatory thedailywtf link (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20117497)

It appears ChaCha is Very Quality [worsethanfailure.com]

It reminds me of one of failed DotBomb era projects.

sponsored links (5, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117503)

chacha mixes sponsored links, see ADVERTISMENTS, in with valid matches. they can fuck off and die.

anyone else notice that the format is exactly like googles?

Re:sponsored links (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20118109)

With the exception that google retains your search terms in the box with javascript disabled

Why? (1)

yogurtforthesoul (1032362) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117535)

Why would you dump Google for a Latin American dance? I'd go with the Tango.

Re:Why? (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117601)

What does a Gnome icon theme have to do with Latin American dances or search engines? Now I'm thoroughly confused.

Re:Why? (2, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117901)

What does a Gnome icon theme have to do with Latin American dances or search engines?


The same thing that network file systems have to do with Samba, I think.

You can't spell "corruption" without IU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20117571)

So the IU President, who sits on the board of Cha Cha, has financial ties, and is using the state univerisity's assets and employees as resources for Cha Cha? WTF!?
This is just such an amazingly stupid idea. I guess if you don't understand the math behind Google's pagerank then you might be unimformed enough to buy into the idea that people can "guide" you through billions of pieces of data...that are constantly changing.

Re:You can't spell "corruption" without IU (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117641)

It does look like a conflict of interest here but I guess there's none at IU with the balls to go up against the new IU President. Next thing you know, he's going to force everyone to use Windows Vista along with Microsoft Office 2007. Oh, and collect a nice check from Microsoft to go along with his check(s) from ChaCha.

LoB

Re:You can't spell "corruption" without IU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20118135)

I wouldn't be surprised. He becomes president, and immediately the Unix Systems Support Group is disbanded, gutted, and all Indiana University campuses now have only two Local Support Provider Support staff that know Unix (both with sketchy know-how).

Re:You can't spell "corruption" without IU (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118227)

It seems that McRobbie has been at IU for some time now. He even implemented a plan in 2000 to replace all IU computers every 3 years.

http://chronicle.com/free/2000/11/2000112901t.htm [chronicle.com]

Doesn't that seem like a short cycle. Their reasoning is that the warranty for the PC is 3 years so therefore, a 3 year replacement cycle... Silly me for thinking that just because the warranty is up doesn't mean you should throw it out. I wonder if Microsoft's Software Assurance isn't involved here since that too is a 3 year cycle.

The good news is that he's been at IU for a while and didn't just come over from being on ChaCha's board. Still, seems like he might have financial ties to ChaCha and therefore have a conflict of interest.

LoB

Re:You can't spell "corruption" without IU (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118513)

I wouldn't read much into the three year thing, that's pretty much standard all over the western world. Over here in Australia it's got more to do with the 3yr depretiation of PC's for tax purposes than the 3mth - 1yr warranties.

Re:You can't spell "corruption" without IU (1)

wicka (985217) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118211)

Yeah, I highly doubt that. IU has Macs all over the place. Their tech store obviously caters more to the Mac crowd. This post is just another fantastic example of morons on /. pulling shit out of their ass and managing to bash Microsoft along with it.

Re:You can't spell "corruption" without IU (1, Flamebait)

Locutus (9039) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118251)

yes, I found that he's been at IU for over 7 years and didn't just jump into the IU Presidents position from the board at ChaCha. And you're right, I was just shooting from the hip since there wasn't enough info in the article to determine otherwise.

BTW, it's just too easy to bash Microsoft and besides, they deserve every bit of it they get. That's a fact and not opinion. :-/

LoB

Re:You can't spell "corruption" without IU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20118285)

And you're right, I was just shooting from the hip since there wasn't enough info in the article to determine otherwise.

U R TEH DECIDER

Re:You can't spell "corruption" without IU (1)

zymano (581466) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118497)

This can work for top sites that specialize in your topic.

your right about ranking a billion pages.

Google is being spammed on some topics.

Yes the IU president looks corrupt but we all learn from Congress and our government.

"People powered"? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117575)

Wouldn't it be better just to give out a phone number to connect you to the "next available operator"? At least have the site play some nice Muzak while you wait for the results. Interrupting with the occasional "All our operators are currently occupied. Your call will be answered in the order received. Please hold."

"Paid guides"
I can see where this will lead. Nothing like a little "commission" to influence said "guide".

And I think Bezos should let what's left of his hair grow out, get a perm, and dye it bright red.

KooL, Its Abt Time to Dump EVIL Google :) (0, Flamebait)

Tech.Luver (1130091) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117583)

KooL. Its really about time to dump EVIL google.

Fanbois(people that can NOT think independently & just like to follow herds/charismatic cult leader) ur hatemails are welcome. This applies to ONLY those who are.

Re:KooL, Its Abt Time to Dump EVIL Google :) (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117671)

At least google gets the answer to the most important question in the world [google.ca] right. It IS "42"!

Interesting Concepts (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20117607)

I had the pleasure to interview with ChaCha early this year, my general feeling is that they certainly have potential to shake things up in the search engine market (No this is not a paid spot, I did not take the job).

As you might suspect I am under a NDA about their technology and can not comment specifically. I will say that everyone I met there at the "Yellow House" has a vision to grow ChaCha into a powerful player in the market. From what I could tell the work environment at ChaCha is everything one might imagine of what I would call a Web 2.5 company, a very relaxed work place conveying an environment of productivity, creativity, and professionalism. Ultimately I choose to pursue a different career path; it was a tough decision that I may grow to regret in the next couple years. I look forward to seeing the technologies in the development pipeline come to fruition.

The final assessment (at least mine) and perhaps the reason for this post is to point out that ChaCha's technology is nothing to laugh at. Their vision for the future of search could--and has been--called revolutionary. I wouldn't be so quick to discount them as some of the /.ers above have.

Re:Interesting Concepts (1)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117681)

What exactly is revolutionary about their "vision" of search? They have guided searches? Great, so I can get someone who probably is dumber than I am to search the web for me, and then give the results back to me. Not to mention their non-guided searches have sponsored for money links sprinkled in with the results, only indicated by the "Sponspored by" in front of the URL. To top that bag of shit off, a guy that used to sit on the Board of Directors is using his new position to muscle ChaCha's way into a new area. Talk about conflict of interest.

Re:Interesting Concepts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20117811)

It is not just about the people powered search. Everyone focuses on that, and all in all it is what they want people to focus on. I think the more interesting part is the ranking system that is in use. Again I said I could not talk about it and will not. Suffice it say that they are not just using meta crawlers. Other technologies for ranking is at play.

Re:Interesting Concepts (1)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117861)

No, that doesn't suffice for me, and I'm willing to bet all the other /.'ers that are belittling this company. They have no signs that tell you that they are working on this new bad ass searching technology, and try to get people to focus on this gimmick of "guided" searches. In the mean time, they are simply copying google's format, and even worse, deceptively placing sponsored ads in the results.

Re:Interesting Concepts (0, Flamebait)

tkiesel (891354) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117741)

Shill 2.0

Mix in just enough equivocation and try to hit that magic balance between healthy skepticism and mindless sycophancy.

Working hard to try and fly beneath the bullshit detectors out there. But you overplayed it, I think, with:

Ultimately I choose to pursue a different career path; it was a tough decision that I may grow to regret in the next couple years. I look forward to seeing the technologies in the development pipeline come to fruition.

I was a ChaCha guide... (4, Interesting)

sykopomp (1133507) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117645)

Only thing ChaCha is really useful over Google is for the 'epic lulz'. Messing with ChaCha guides is amazing, and I bet the university will stop using ChaCha guided searches when a bunch of students start asking for pictures of lemonparty. Hint: they couldn't actually ban someone from the service last I checked. ;)

Re:I was a ChaCha guide... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20117675)

We even got people on the inside working as Chacha guides eventually. It's been a while since I've seen a chacha thread now that I think about it.

why? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20117651)

I'm puzzled by the benefits of this. IU, like other large establishments, sets up web pages and other tools so that instead of needing to have humans answer questions, computers can index things.
This article cites the benefits of having a human guide such as

"IU's guides could be asked to locate a building on campus", (use a campus map)

"find a book in one of the university's libraries" (use a library web page)or

"solve a question about Windows Vista (use Microsoft s knowledge base)".


Then IU does the asinine thing of replacing search results compiled by google appliances with human filtered ones. How much revenue does this give to cha-cha?

Woo hoo, the Orange Catholic Search Engine! (3, Funny)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117667)

It's like I always say, "Why can't the world be more like a Frank Herbert novel."

Well actually, not always. But once, in my head, while typing. I didn't give much thought to punctuation, though.

ChaCha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20117697)

can suck it! Try to be a bit more original. Creating new search engines is quite old and besides, Google works just fine.

They could save a ton of money. (2, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117705)

Come Monday, no more Indiana University searches will be powered by computer-driven Google. Only by people-powered ChaCha.

If they took a page (ahem!) out of Google's book and used pigeons [google.com] instead.

Re:They could save a ton of money. (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118623)

Hell, I thought you were going to tell 'em to switch to Geico...

ChaCha founder sure has a huge ego (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20117727)

All this guy does is come up with amazing ideas and create successful companies around them. Ever heard of voice mail? Well, when Scott was only 25, his company Boston Technology invented the system used by nearly all the telephone companies around the globe. He started Escient, later transformed into Gracenote, which led the development of music recognition technology. He also founded IndyRobotics, which built one of the world's premier self-driving vehicles. And now he's created ChaCha. What's next for Scott? We can only imagine.

Cha Cha Ching (1)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117825)

for ChaCha

ANYTHING But The Standard Hype Is Good (1)

Halvy (748070) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117831)

I have used and liked Cha Cha for several months now.


They seem to find items that Ask.com either doesn't have, or doesn't have within the first few pages.

I try not to use Google anymore, because although it is fine (like most engines) for finding a lowely needle in a hay stack.. it has the absurdly knack for not being able to find a hay stack.

In other words, Google and the rest are only good at finding data, when there is little data on the subject.. but when it comes to simple, plain, everyday questions, it is always a heartache to get to the info.. if at all.

Cha Cha seems to be at least working on solving this problem.

Although apparently backed by Bozo (Amazon still hasn't really made a significant profit.. if you consider the slave conditions that exists at the company).. I find myself using Cha Cha and other alternatives more and more.. but ANYTHING but Google, since it has obviously become the dreaded evil tool that it preaches against... :(

-- No regular sig today.. since /. weighs them more than the content of posters comments and their contributions, to this once great site..

Yahoo - again after ?? a decade (1)

no-body (127863) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117843)

Wasn't this how Yahoo started - people searching for good information on the Internet and making it available on web pages.

Me thinks, this ChaCha may become a very big yawn after a short while && AI search optimization may be the future. Google and M$ apparently are knitting on it.
Seems ChaCha already has a bottleneck with CPU acquisition:

Please note, due to the thousands of applications we receive each week, we will respond to you as quickly as we can, but please be patient as we search for outstanding individuals to join our growing community!

Puffing up egos: "Outstanding individuals"....pffff!

Re:Yahoo - again after ?? a decade (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117903)

Yahoo was a directory, like a yellow pages. Chacha is search combined with chat. If you can't find something you will talk to a real person.

IN.gov also uses cha cha (1)

Chapium (550445) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117847)

Indiana's government website also uses Cha Cha. Coincidence? I think not. http://ingov.chacha.com/search/query?query_text= [chacha.com]

Re:IN.gov also uses cha cha (3, Interesting)

wicka (985217) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118191)

ChaCha is based in Indiana (Carmel, to be exact). It's just the a state government's natural prejudice towards putting money back into the state economy. That could be one of the reasons IU has switched to it, given that it's a public university. By the way, I use IU's Google search quite often, and it sucks. Badly. You can't find anything you're looking for. Perhaps it's the nature of the information their site has, but they probably think that ChaCha will work better.

meanwhile on an obscure website at the end of the (4, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117857)

Googlebotter: It's people. IU Search is made out of people. They're making their index out of people. Next thing they'll be breeding them like cattle for links. You've gotta tell them. You've gotta tell them!

Slashdotter: I promise, bottie, I promise. I'll tell the geeks.

Googlebotter: You tell everybody. Listen to me, Slashdotter. You've gotta tell them! IU search is people! We've gotta stop them somehow!

Why something like ChaCha will never thrive (1)

Z0mb1eman (629653) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117921)

http://xkcd.net/155/ [xkcd.net]

Link should speak for itself.

ChaCha founder is an IU grad (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117967)

The only reason why IU is interested in ChaCha is because it was started by Scott A. Jones [wikipedia.org] who is an IU grad (and also the founder of Gracenote).

The thought of making library and tech support people essentially chacha employees is a bit disturbing but students and faculty have been able to contact them through chat and instant messenger so perhaps it won't really make any difference as long as only IU people can contact them.

More proprietary shenanigans (1)

letchhausen (95030) | more than 7 years ago | (#20117991)

Great, so some fucks at one shitheel company are trying to get it over the fucks at another shitheel company. Yawn. The only thing interesting here is the lack of ethics at IU.....

What's next? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20118005)

Former CEO of some defense company becomes Secretary of Defense and approves multi-billion dollar contract to that company?

I can't blame them... (3, Informative)

jambarama (784670) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118023)

As a new IU student, let me say this can't hurt. This isn't too surprising to me, while google is great for getting valuable search results from gobs of pages, it really hasn't been designed or optimized to work with few pages. The IU results with the google search are so irrelevant they are worthless. This isn't a troll, I use google for web searches, but try it yourself here [indiana.edu] and search for course offerings, or course catalog, or list of courses. Garbage results mostly. I found the same was true of the BYU search--it was google and it was terrible.

The summary sounds like there is a conflict of interest for sure, so I can't say ChaCha was the right replacement (ads mixed with search results?!? sounds evil to me). But I can say a replacement/fix/something had to be done.

Re:I can't blame them... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20118037)

As some who does web development at a University with a Google Appliance, all I can say is blame the web developers. They're obviously not doing a good job naming pages, titling, linking, etc, so Google can pick up the clues to help people find things. It works great for us, and it can even be fine tuned so certain keywords can bring up certain pages automatically.

Re:I can't blame them... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118105)

I've discovered the exact opposite to be true. I've been an IU student/staff member for more than a decade, and have only in the last couple weeks gotten ridiculous results in my searches. Searching UITS's site for certain information is impossible now. I'm lucky I can remember a lot of URLs if I think hard enough.

Re:I can't blame them... (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118503)

You know, something like a google search of:

site=uits.iu.edu searchterm

will work fairly well, as Google still indexes it. Just use the "advanced features", or hop on to searchlores.org and learn how to search properly.

20 hrs of searchlores from Fravia and company will teach you 99.9% more about information theory than any class at IU will ever teach. Hell, I was teaching the librarians at the Learning Center how to properly search. Yes... IU grads from the information theory school (or whatever they call it).

Re:I can't blame them... (4, Interesting)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118139)

As speaking from Columbus next door, IUPUC has its head stuck up their asses when it comes to IU mandate.

Back in 2001, we had 350 MHz machines with 128 and 256 MB. They mandated us with a switch from NT4 (which worked great and kept games and crap off) to 2000. Slow-city. A year and a half later, we were mandated for XP. For the same FARKING machines.

They also had serious problems with Windows Messenger spam coming from within the IU network. Of course, the drop-dead easy solution of turning off Windows Messenger service was too above their comprehension to do.

Next, the uni uses ADS and Kerberos for auth. IUPUC auths with ads.iupui.edu over a T-1. Guess what happens when you flood the T-1? Nobody logs in. I tried to tell them, but they learned the hard way when a bunch of techies from the IU side kazaa-ed the T-1 down. Heads rolled, and they finally took my suggestion: dont disable local guest or admin. Just password them heavily in that authorized people could still use the doorstops... computers.

Pretty much, you end up with "If you cant do, teach. If you cant teach, work in IT."

Coming from a CompSci dropout. Chem is better by far.

And a side note: No wonder they fired the old IU president. Guess the old one wouldnt take kickbacks.

ChaCha still figuring out compensation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20118113)

However, Jones said ChaCha still is hashing out the compensation details. "We'd be happy to pay them. We pay our other guides. But who's getting paid? IU? The guides? Is it a bonus?"
Come on that's obvious: Michael McRobbie, the IU president, is to person who'll get paid. I knew from friends in the IU PhD program that some parts of the life science department was taking money on the side to 'guide' research, but I'd never thought that this goes up all the way to the university president.

3 strikes (4, Informative)

Fletch (6903) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118149)

I'd never heard of ChaCha. I just did a search for the first time and noticed that 1) sponsored results are inline and poorly marked (there's some suble green "sponsored by" text within an otherwise ordinary looking search result). That might have been forgiven, but 2) the sponsored results for this particular query weren't actually very relevant. Then, when I tried to click through a real result I found that 3) they use javascript for their result links, and it's implemented in such a way that I can't command-click on a result and open it in a new tab (it does open in a new tab, but the original tab loads the result page, too).

I won't be back.

Re:3 strikes (1)

edschurr (999028) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118385)

Get Firefox, Greasemonkey, and change the page to your liking. If the service has any merit anyway, and you have the time...

Re:3 strikes (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118645)

Why bother? There's hundreds of search engines.

Try this link [fravia.com] for a few engines to search with. And that is only the main search engines. You also have regional, compound, local and live to go through.

Clich here to report conflict of interest (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118157)

To report a conflict of interest involving an employee of the State of Indiana, click here. [in.gov]

Relevant documents:

beat it. human guide is better than computer index (1)

z-j-y (1056250) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118163)

finally, we'll get the answer to the question, "what do women want?"

If I were a ChaCha guide... (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118231)

I'd tell you to just F*(&'n Google it [justfuckinggoogleit.com] !

Should Hold A Raffle (1)

kbsoftware (1000159) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118273)

Clearly there is a conflict of interest to just mention one of the problems with this move. So how long will Michael McRobbie remain IU president. We should hold a raffle, or maybe a contest I bet he's a goner by November of this year :)

No Guides! (1)

Chet Simpson (820015) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118277)

I've been trying to search for the Chode Compressor for the last hour and not one "guide" had been available. Pretty useless if you ask me.

Wikipedia guy is trying it also (1)

zymano (581466) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118481)

The problem though with these ideas is that I don't want to help search engines when I don't get paid.

 

To be fair, it's two different search problems (3, Interesting)

Xthlc (20317) | more than 7 years ago | (#20118625)

Intranets and The Internet are two different beasts when it comes to search. Intranet pages are much more tightly controlled, the set of all pages is quite sparse, and the "importance" of a page doesn't necessarily correspond to its value as a search result. PageRank (even tuned for these conditions) just isn't as effective as it is on the public Internet; you want to tune search results for each organization based on how people actually use their intranet. I think the Google Search Appliance actually does this (refining the order of its results based on clickthroughs) but I'm unsure.

In my company (a very big and globe-spanning one), our intranet search is more-or-less useless. However, many people use an internal social bookmarking application. Searching this set of links is leaps and bounds more useful, and tends to return the result I'm looking for in the first half of the first page. A lot of these links are on obscure little pages hidden away on our massive intranet, which describe, say, how to fill out a massive form the right way, or how to hack around a particular quirk in our IT infrastructure. In other words, things that employees think are important, rather than things that management thinks are important.

Which is not to say that I think ChaCha at IU is a good thing. By all accounts this situation sounds like a terrible conflict of interest. However, I don't think that simply pointing Google at your organization's intranet is going to solve all your problems; instead, you want a smart blend of automated page ranking and social filtering to get around the problems caused by the (relatively) smaller sample set.

Cha-Cha is owned by Scott Jones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20118661)

aka... Gracenote...
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