A new reason to ChaCha

A&E tests the different text message Q&A services

Whether itâÄôs questioning the name of the actor who played Donkey Lips on âÄúSalute Your ShortsâÄú or the chemical composition of nail polish, or even if itâÄôs just a listing of the business hours for the public library, the answers are almost effortlessly accessible to even the most lazy of cell phone owners. Texting or calling in queries to mobile search companies is a trend that is quickly catching on for the argumentative, trivia-crazed or just plain curious. With a handful of cellular Magic 8 Ball companies to choose from, which one is best? A&E decided to compare three of the most popular âÄúsocial searchâÄù companies and ask them all the same question, one that has plagued humans since the dawn of time: How long are female rhinos pregnant before giving birth? KGB TEXT NUMBER: 542542 Borrowing their name from the Soviet info-obsessed secret police, KGB is perhaps the most well-known of the âÄúsocial searchâÄù companies, largely thanks to an extensive ad campaign. For a dollar a pop, cell phone users can text their question to KBG and an answer is texted back some five minutes later by a human operator. Response time is dependent on the nature of the question, but for the most part, answers tend to be accurate and to the point. Bruce Stewart, chief executive of the company, launched the live-operated mobile search service earlier this year. KGB may have more personality than the cold clammy mechanical hands of competitor Google SMS, but the buck fee quickly adds up for answer hungry texters. When faced with the rhino question, KGB sent a response in three minutes, which was curt but informative: âÄúA female is pregnant for 16 to 18 months before giving birth.âÄù Google SMS TEXT NUMBER: 466453 GoogleâÄôs mobile query response generator is free, although robotic and sometimes useless. After texting a question, Google provides a series of listings similar to their online search engine. Users can Google SMS anything from restaurants, addresses and movie listings to stock quotes and postal codes. It may be an asset for texters in need of quick answers on the run, but Google pales in comparison to the more logical, humanistic and live responses of KGB or ChaCha. When given the rhino test, GoogleâÄôs listings were erratic and scattered, with an answer buried within the results but not quickly apparent. Result #1 âÄúâĦ the baby rhino makes a squeak…âÄù Result #2 âÄúâĦ and the Indian rhino both have prehensile lip.âÄù Result #3 âÄúPregnant for 16 before giving birth âĦ. rhinos have very small eyes, positioned on either side of their head, âĦ they all eat a lot!âÄù Cha Cha TEXT NUMBER: 242242 LIVE NUMBER: 1-800-224-2242 ChaCha, which like KGB uses a human operator and like Google SMS charges no fee, (it texts an ad along with the answer) is clearly the best âÄúsocial searchâÄù service out of the three. The company, which last year boasted 3.5 million users, was ranked No. 7 in total text message traffic among U.S. cell phone users, alongside newfound cell phone staples like Twitter and Facebook. The fact that ChaChaâÄôs answers tend to be informative with a tinge of character added in, and that it often answers completely subjective questions with cheeky responses, seems to help boost its widespread appeal. Given the Rhino question, ChaCha responded in two minutes with, âÄúRhinos usually always have a single calf, born after a gestation period of 15 to 18 months.âÄù That deserves a dance.