UPDATE: ChaCha to link to IU librarians, tech specialists

August 2, 2007

Indiana University and ChaCha Inc., the human-assisted Internet search engine based in Carmel, said this afternoon that IU will make its librarians and information technology staff available to ChaCha users.

The IU experts will help ChaCha users sift through unwanted material in order to focus on the information users want.

Users will be linked by instant message to isolate information they want, then refine the search and display the most relevant results.

The service will be of particular use to specialized expertise needed by scholars, said Brad Wheeler, vice president for information technology at Indiana University.

"With this strategic alliance we establish pioneering paths to bring human insight and expertise to the moment of need," Wheeler said in a statement. "We see a generalized platform for expertise projection to the IU community rather than building unique tools for each academic discipline or service. This is a research, development and production service alliance."

ChaCha will be added immediately to search.iu.edu, which is IU's search portal for students and faculty.

Joining Wheeler at IUPUI to make the announcement was ChaCha founder Scott Jones.

Founded last year, ChaCha quickly raised $6 million from investors, including Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, Compaq Computer founding CEO Rod Canion, and Jack Gill, who co-founded Palo Alto, Calif.-based venture capital firm Vanguard Ventures.

Local investors include Simon Equity Partners, an affiliate of Simon Property Group and Gazelle TechVentures.

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