Answers supplied by ChaCha, the Carmel startup founded by tech entrepreneur Scott Jones, generally were fast, accurate and useful, the influential columnist said.
By calling 800-2chacha, Mossberg was able to find local weather, Peyton Manning's salary and the sodium content of a Big Mac.
Its weaknesses are inconsistent service and an inability to automatically determine the caller's location, Mossberg said.
Inconsistency was caused by the part-time workers ChaCha pays to find answers submitted by callers. When asked for the best Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C., ChaCha directed Mossberg to a restaurant he said most locals wouldn't have chosen.
However, the free service allows follow-up calls for clarification or additional information.
ChaCha plans to add the ability to automatically determine the caller's location, he noted. That way the caller could simply ask the location of the nearest drug store.