I just heard that Google supports SMS, which should theoretically mean that I can do really easy Google searches from my Nokia cellphone. Is that true? And if so, how do I do it?
Indeed it is true that Google has a very slick short message service (SMS) interface that you can use to get all sorts of information like movie showtimes, weather reports, and more.
You use the service by simply sending your query as a text message to GOOGL (aka 46645) and a few seconds later it returns the result of your query. Pretty darn easy. (be warned, however, many cellphone plans have a metered SMS service so going wild with dozens of tests might well cost you money at the end of the month!)
To get a search from Google Local, simply specify the type of business you seek and either the name of the city or the zipcode you’re in. For example, if you want to find all the pizza joints in Chicago, you could try pizza chicago and surf shops in Honolulu would be surf shop 96801, and so on.
You can also get weather forecasts for just about anywhere in the United States. Try searching for weather new orleans or, if you want to search by zipcode, try weather 80301. In fact, using Google’s SMS simulator, I did the latter search and here’s what it returned:
Want to double-check that the latest thriller is showing at 8pm so you don’t look like a complete doofus on your date? That’s easily done with Google SMS too. Try using a reasonably distinct nickname for a current movie and a location or zipcode. For example, star wars manhattan or chronicles of narnia santa monica ca.
Not sure about the definition of some obscure word, or trying to win a bar bet or similar? That’s easy too: define pedant would quickly produce a definition of the word, tedious though it may be.
If you’re an investor who likes to keep close tabs on stock investments, you’ll also be glad to know that Google SMS supports simple stock result queries (15 minutes delayed, as usual) by simply sending the ticket symbol. Try AAPL and MSFT to see how the market’s valuing these two industry titans, for example.
And much more…
Google SMS includes support for tons of cool things, actually, including driving directions, product prices, and even a considerably more sophisticated calculator than your cell phone supports currently. Check it out: Google has an entire area on its site dedicated to the mobile phone services at Google SMS.
Not sure what SMS is all about? Check out Wikipedia’s SMS page for lots of good background information.
Hope that gets you up and running!