QuestionBox – Bringing Search Engine to Rural India

QuestionBox is an interesting initiative that is attempting to bring search engine to rural India.

Essentially, QuestionBox is a simple telephone intercomwhich works by pressing a button, which connects to the operator sitting in front of a computer with internet access.Users ask the operator questions in their local language. The operator goes online and finds their answers, translating English results back into the local language. The physical Question Box units have gone through several design cycles. They now can run completely off the grid, using mobile phone and solar technologies.

How does QuestionBox works?

Question Box’s backend software logs all call data and indexes operators previous queries and answers, allowing it to get smarter over time. It uses a specialized local databases or ‘off-line internet’ solution allowing it to work in any situation, whether it’s on or offline, powered or using backup generators. The database is customized with information relevant to the locational prefrences.

QuestionBox, an initiative by Open Mind (US based non-profit organization) and is presently active in Maharashtra region.

A great example of how technology can change and most importantly, if the questions can be mined – there is a wealth of data for marketers.

What’s your opinion?