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Cell Phone Q&A Service To Challenge Search Engines

Staff Writer
Published: 2004-05-12

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IssueBits.com, a telecommunications information company, has created a question answering service called Any Question Answered. The service was designed to help customers find answers through text messages. AQA differs from search engines in that you receive an answer to the question you posed, not a list of links that may have the information you seek.

Located in London, England, AQA works by the cell phone user text messaging a question to AQA through a phone number that has been set up to receive these texts. A brief description from IssueBits explains the service very well:

"You can ask any question, worded in any way, by text message … The AQA service not only can help you with restaurants, bar and pub related questions, times of trains and travel updates, and what plays or films are showing at theatres or cinemas - but it remembers your previous questions allowing you to easily request further information."

For now, this service is only available in the UK. English cell phone service providers O2, Orange and Vodafone have begun offering the service to their customers. AQA also charges a nominal fee to those who use its service. The charge for sending text queries to AQA is 1 GBP, about 1.77 USD, plus your standard text message charge.

AQA works by using computer algorithms, database technology, and human researchers. "IssueBits has also developed patent-pending technology that allows teams of researchers working from home to support and develop the AQA …"

The following is an example of the some questions that have been asked of AQA and the responses the service gave:

What time does Selfridges London shut today?
Selfridges based on Oxford Street, nearest tube Bond Street, is open from 12pm to 6pm on Sunday.

What is the best pub in Kinsale, Ireland?
The Spaniard Inn in Kinsale, holder of a James Joyce award for authenticity, is well worth a visit. It has a bar and a restaurant.

Who played Sophie Fatale in Kill Bill?
Julie Dreyfus, born in Paris and fluent in French, English and Japanese, played Sophie Fatale in Kill Bill Vol.1.

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