Forbes Features Jon Gosier, Open Mind - Question Box CTO

Question Box CTO Jon Gosier got great coverage from

A Google For Rural Africa
Bruce Upbin, 07.23.09, 6:00 PM ET

OXFORD, England -

Jonathan Gosier, one of the TED Fellows at the conference here, presented his project called QuestionBox that promises to bring answers to the curious in the most remote parts of the developing world. Gosier started by asking the question, how do we know what people want to know? Google knows what we want to know, and builds its search engine around those requests, but that service covers those of us in rich countries with widespread access to PCs and broadband. What about in rural Uganda?

With the help from the Grameen Foundation and a not-for-profit called OpenMind he staffed up a small call-center where mobile phone owners can call up and ask about weather, history, science, whatever they want. For those with no phones, QuestionBox sends men and women in easily identifiable T-shirts and hats into villages to take people's questions. Gosier showed a sweet video in which a farmer in Uganda walked into a town, and asked a volunteer sitting by a hut if the Egyptian pyramids were still standing. The volunteer got on the phone, registered the question with the call center, and gave the man the answer he wanted. Smiles all around. Check it out at