Update 9/21/09: I continue to be pleased at how nicely ChaCha has helped me find information on the go. For example, on Saturday I was out and about with my kids and decided I wanted to take them to see the new movie, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. I called 1-800-2ChaCha and asked "Where is the movie 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs' playing near Thousand Oaks, California in the next 2 hours?" Within a couple minutes I had several choices texted to my cell phone, with movie times and phone numbers! Worked beautifully! And I was able to do this while driving the car (would have been challenging...and illegal...using an iPhone web browser). (Of course...make sure to stop before reading the text messages.)
What's nice about ChaCha is that you have a virtual personal assistant that does the homework for you! And it is free!
ChaCha is fun for random questions. Like the other day I heard that song "Blinded by the Light" and wondered for the 99th time, what are heck are those lyrics that I never understand? ChaCha promptly replied that the lyrics for this Manfred Mann Earth Band hit are "Blinded by the light, revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night." Ah ha! Learned something new! Now I should call back and ask what those lyrics actually mean!
NOTE: This was previously posted about a year ago but a friend reminded me of ChaCha as a FREE personal assistant. To summarize ChaCha, it is a free service where you call a toll-free number, ask a question and a real person does the research and texts the answer back to you on your cell phone. The person who does the research receives 10 cents to 20 cents per answer (I confirmed this by asking ChaCha). How does ChaCha make money? Advertising. I typically receive 3 text messages back from ChaCha...a written confirmation of my question. an advertisement, and an answer.
The ChaCha website is also kind of fun to check out to see what types of questions are currently being asked. For example, someone asked "How many schools are there in the U.S." and ChaCha replied with "124,110 public/private schools as of 2005."
I tried it at lunch during the 2008 NBA playoffs. Dialed 800.224.2242 (or 800.2chacha) and asked: "What is the time and date of the next Lakers playoff game?" I hung up and within a minute received a text message that confirmed my question and told me I would receive an answer soon. A minute later the next text message said "L.A. Lakers play Denver 5:30 p.m. EDT on TNT. Lakers lead series 2-0." So they gave me even more than I asked!
After lunch I tried one more: "Who was the 5th President of the U.S. and how old was he when he died?" After the initial reply confirming the question, I heard back: "James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States (1817-1825). He died in New York at the age of 73." So once again, not only did they respond quickly, but with even more than what I asked!
You can also type and text your questions to them at "ChaCha" or 242242.