Google SMS

Google has a new service offering. Google SMS is a way for cell phones with text messaging capabilities to interact with Google’s massive amounts of information.

From the Google 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.

I tried out a few things with Google SMS. Sending the word “help” as a text message returned this response (in less than thirty seconds) spanned across two messages:

(1of2) Google SMS: To get business listings, enter business name and city, state of zip. To get phone numbers, enter name of person and city, state or zip.

(2of2) For product prices, enter ‘price’ followed by the product name. For definitions, enter ‘define’ followed by the word or term.

Simple enough, let’s try and find my phone number. I sent “Chris Short Tampa, FL” and received:

Sorry, ‘chris short tampa…’ did not return any results. For HELP on Google SMS please reply with ‘help’ or go to http://sms.google.com/

This doesn’t surprise me in the least considering my phone number is a cell phone number and it’s not listed in any phone book. So let’s try something that should be in the phone book. I sent in my dad’s name and city then within thirty seconds Google SMS responded with the correct phone number AND address.

Let’s say I need to find the nearest Home Depot. I sent “Home Depot Tampa, FL”. This took some time to get results for and I only got one of two messages. There is a good reason why though.

So let’s assume I know my zip code on my quest for a Checkers. I sent Google SMS, “Checkers 28601″ (the zip code of my alma mater, Hickory High School). Google SMS responded with:

Sorry, ‘checkers 28601′ did not return any results. For HELP on Google SMS please reply with ‘help’ or go to http://sms.google.com/

That’s disappointing considering there is a Checkers less than two blocks away from Hickory High School (and two more within 25 miles).

Believe it or not I don’t know my brother’s address. Can Google SMS help me with that? I guess I’ll remain a dirtbag brother because Google can’t help me with that either. I guess I could call him and get that from him.

Google SMS is a new service that definitely needs some work but I think it’s not the fault of the SMS service itself. It’s the lack of data Google actually has (believe it or not). I imagine I can make use of the service on long trips when I don’t have data services on my Sidekick II.