Have you heard about ChaCha?
This new search engine launched on Monday, and it's already making waves. Currently in "Alpha Mode" (rather than go "Beta," which Google's practically trademarked) the site is "Part Wikipedia, part Yahoo Answers and part About.com," according to Search Engine Watch.
How so? In addition to providing tradtional, algo-driven Search Engine results pages, the site will also provide real-time results via live "guides." Welcome to Social Search.
Like About.com guides, ChaCha's will be matched with their areas of expertise. Currently, 3,000 guides have been tapped to participate. ChaCha guides, who will be paid,can invite other guides to join as apprentices, fueling viral growth of the site. (Cool, huh?) Guides have to start of as apprentices and be trained by experts prior to any public interaction. (There's speculation that many of these guides will be pulled from 10 million-plus, cash-hungry college students.) Pay increases as guides gain experience, topping off at $10/hour.
Guides will also have profiles, adding to the community aspect of the site.
The site's a little shaky this first week (it was actually down, but had a nice smiley face on the screen during the outage) but reviews so far seem optimistic, if a little skeptical about providing enough guides for a fast-growing audience.
Give it a shot for yourself and let us know what you think!