Google SMS query service

January 13th, 2005

Google has a beta SMS service which answers queries sent from your mobile phone or device. Simple conventions are used to express queries for phone book listings, dictionary definitions, product prices, etc. Google touts their service as

“Just text. No links. No web pages. Simply the answers you’re looking to find.”

Examples of queries are pizza 21228″ to find pizza places near UMBC or “george bush, washington dc” to find the address and phone number of the US president and Price ipod 20gb” to get a prices (and sellers) for an ipod. The SMS messages are sent to the 5-digit US shortcode 46645 which corresponds to GOOGL on most phones. My mobile phone has a good browser, but I think I’d prefer to use this SMS service for the supported common query types for several reasons. The interaction model is simpler and a better fit when I’m away from my desk. I can fire off a query without bringing up a page and navigating to the query form. I don’t have to and am not tempted to sit and wait for the result page to come up, but can do somethihg else with my phone. Finally, the results come back in a very compact form — more suited for a small screen.