Google Via Text Message

One last Google announcement this week – US users can now send queries to the search engine via their mobile phones, and get answers back in about a minute. The service is another one of Google’s beta offerings, and as such is currently free, except for standard network charges – they’re just trying it out to see if people would use it.

Google SMS offers phone directory listings, product prices from Froogle, dictionary definitions … and a calculator. Somewhat strange given that most phones have calculator software in them already, but perhaps useful if it can deal with trigonometric functions. Oh, wait – I have a PDA for that.

Benjamin Ling, product manager for Google SMS describes the service on his blog: “Google SMS is a handy way to, say, get a listing for a nearby restaurant, find the definition of a word, or look up the price of a product, an area code or Zip code. You can even use Google SMS to calculate a tip. If your phone is enabled for text messages, just send your query to this 5-digit US shortcode: 46645. (It corresponds to GOOGL on most phones.) Your query results are sent as text messages, not links. Learn more about using Google SMS on our help page or by sending a text message with the word ‘help’ to 46645.”

SMS Google

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?