How many calories are in a Banana? What is the average lifespan of a dolphin?…

The answers to these life-altering questions are just a text message away. There are actually several companies that have created an offering. You text them your questions and a human (with a pulse and everything) will answer your questions. Eat that, Google. 

BUT SMS search may cost you.

The latest offering was put out by a KGB. According to NYT’s Bits blog:

If you send a question via text message to kgbkgb (or 542542), a human “kgb special agent” will find the answer and text it back. (The company’s name is an obvious play on the name of the former Soviet Union’s intelligence agency, known by its Russian initials, KGB.)

Typical turnaround for your queries: 4 minutes (depending on how big of a head-scratcher you send in). KGB charges 50 cents per answer. Is it worth it to find out in a zip what the square root of -1 is…or…what makes a sneeze happen?

Another option is to hit up ChaCha, which performs a similar service and gives the first 20 answers for free! ChaCha customers can send any question via SMS (242242) or voice (1-800-224-2242).



Each of these sites has sample questions scrolling on the home pages, they are amusing enough to check out.

Perhaps I’ll use this to finally find out: what is the meaning of life?

Hopefully the answer doesn’t exceed my text message capacity.



3 Responses

  1. I’m not sure I understand why someone would use this when they could quickly find this stuff out for free. Then again, I’ll bet if you Googled ‘the meaning of life’ it would come up: “Google.”

  2. Agreed, for smartphone users, it may be just as simple to Google it…but smartphones are still far from being the dominant device, oddly.

    And great point on Google being the answer to my meaning of life question. Perhaps that’s where the usefulness for these services lies: in the more abstract questions.

  3. As both a cha cha and a smartphone user, i can say that cha cha is great for those times when you are out with a group of people, need to look something up to settle a bet/argument, and dont want to spend 5 minutes plugging everything into your smartphone – you’d rather keep participating in the convo

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