I was keen to try the service of a new company led by former Symbian CEO Colly Myers. The company promissed to answer all your questions over SMS. The trouble is, that service is only (currently) available to a couple of mobile networks in the UK.
I then found out that the concept of having a "personal librarian" is not new. Actually it seems that another company, Re5ult, came up with this concept a few months before Mr Myers' company came into our radar screen.
The Re5ult service was launched in September 2003, and like the aangel service we tried before, it relies on human beings doing the work.
The idea is simple: you register with their site, and receive some credits to try it. If (and when) you have a question you can submit it to the team of experts via SMS or through their website. These experts will search for an answer and return it to you, via e-mail or via SMS. Either way the question and answer will be available on your account if you miss the very important SMS.
I've registered with their service and to test it I've sent a simple question via SMS: "What's the origin of the name All Blacks?". The answer came back in less than two minutes, and it seemed the correct answer. If you don't know, the All Blacks is the New Zealand Rugby team.
My question, via SMS
Answer, part 1
answer, part 2
The interesting thing is that Re5ults also post a link to the URL where your answer was found, so you can have this as an archive, available on-line.
The site lists a selection of interesting questions asked before, and average time to answer then. Questions include "What is the UK clothing market worth?", " Do you have Key west beach phone number in St tropez?", "What were the first ever words spoken on the telephone?", "Which woman has the longest legs in the world?".
You can buy credits in bulk, or users can earn credits if they're willing to share their expertise and answer tricky questions that need some extra help. This kind of service is very interesting, because not all users have on-line access to a virtual library or to an Internet search engine. Using this kind of assisted service users can find the that important last minute information for a deal-breaking meeting, a bit of help to win the pub quiz or impress a date .