February 28, 2008
I Met Virtual Anna, The Virtual Concierge at the Hyatt
Jeffrey Rohrs are I have a thing about meeting up in transit between the hotel and convention center. Last night, before the Google Grove we met up and he told me he wanted to have a chat with the Virtual Concierge at the Hyatt. I was like, "what?"
We walk up to a desk and this woman named Anna is looking at us through a wide plasma screen. Jeffrey says hello and she responds, we hear her through the speakers on the desk. We then begin asking her questions. I can't remember the order of the questions but they are assorted from:
- Are you real? Yes, she is.
- Where are you based? Just 80 miles away.
- How did you come up with the idea? She hated the commute and she convinced her bosses that this is a good idea
- When did she start doing this? About 7 years ago
- What are the most common questions she gets? The ones above
- Do you get sick of these questions? Never
- Are your kids ever with you on the screen? Yes
- Did you get a lot of press? Yes see here
- Do you use search engines as an aid? Of course, she loves them (had to ask)
In fact, she even convinced Yahoo Maps (I believe it was Yahoo) to make a change to how they handle an aspect of there mapping software. She was written up in the Guinness World Records for being the first to ever do this. She invented the idea and was the first.
She has a blog at Virtual Anna at WordPress and really enjoys technology. About 7 years ago she didn't even have a computer, and now she embraces it every day.
She printed out a sheet for me so I can contact her later but I suspect she might see this post at my personal blog. I probably will email her to ask her in detail, how she uses search engines for her job and what improvements she has seen and would like to see in the future.
Great meeting you Virtual Anna!