Human powered search - a cooperative effort?

By Andrea Saveri, published at 10 May 2007 - 8:12pm, last updated 11 years 1 week ago.

Chacha.com is "a new search engine model that employs thousands of paid "guides," who will provide live one-on-one help to users who need extra assistance tracking down online information."

After reading the article in the SF Chronicle, it sounded like a version of distributed computing grids that harness and aggreagte distributed computing across thousands of computers. Could this human-based search strategy be an attempt to create a collective search grid?

I wonder to what extent guides will work together and develop collective intelligence regarding searches.

"Brad Bostic, president of ChaCha, based in Indianapolis, said the business depends on recruiting, training and keeping guides who will keep the system running. He said new guides can join only after being invited by other guides. they will be trained by their peers. Some will specialize in a certain field, but can also be trained to handle large subject categories. The service also allows guides to earn up to 10 percent of the income of guides they've helped recruit."