Google on your Sidekick via SMS / text messages

March 27, 2007

Nearly everyone — including us deaf folks — have a cellphone or smartphone of some type. Sidekicks (by T-Mobile) and Blackberries are cellphones / smartphones, and so are just about every Palm / Window Mobile PDA with wireless service. If you have some sort of voice plan to go with your (usually unlimited) data plan, you most likely also have the ability to send and receive SMS’s (short message services) — otherwise known as text messages. Some plans allow for unlimited SMS’s; other plans charge a few cents per SMS.

(Tip: when a Sidekick’s data service is inoperative — which happens with dismaying regularity — you most likely can still send a SMS / text message to your friend’s Sidekick or Blackberry if you know that friend’s cellphone number.)

Google MobileWhat many people don’t know is that SMS’s can be a valuable source of information. This is where Google SMS comes in the picture.

Send an SMS to 466453 (“GOOGLE” following the letters on a typical telephone keypad), with certain words or numbers in the body of the message, and you’ll quickly get relevant information a wide variety of subjects. Some examples — underlined words are those that you’d put in the body of a SMS message:

(Examples straight out of Google SMS‘s webpage)

  • SUSHI 94040 — this will get you a list of all sushi restaurants in zip code 94040 (yuuuuummmmmmm)
  • Weather NYC — weather info for New York City (could also use a zip or town / state here)
  • AA 2111 — flight info for American Airlines # 2111 (just don’t miss it)
  • Lakers — sports info (but I’d druther the UCLA basketball team)
  • the departed 94110 — movie info for that movie in a certain zip code (again, could use town / state here too)
  • tgt — stock quotes (but feel free to leave any hot stock tips)
  • define zenith — glossary / definitions (and no, it’s not just the Zenith television here)
  • 72202 — zip code locator
  • translate hello in french — translation service (good for if you meet an exotic person in a bar?)
  • pasadena CA to 94043 — driving directions (but you’re already using Google Maps Mobile, correct?)
  • g hubble telescope — web snippets / search listing (but yes, you need help finding the Hubble telescope)
  • 1 US pint in liters — calculator (but c’mon, get over the metric system, willya?)
  • … and many more like Q&A’s, area code finder, electronic goods pricing info, currency conversion, and even help.

Yahoo MobileYahoo used to have a similar SMS service. But now Yahoo seems to be focusing its energies into Yahoo Mobile (if on a cellphone, use this link), a range of services accessed via the cellphone / smartphone’s web browser or a separate application on these phones rather than via SMS service. More on that soon.

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