Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Google to offer SMS services

Google has SMS (short message service) in beta. SMS allows a user on a mobile device to query the web via text messaging to get weather information, short answers to questions, driving directions, local business listings, and more. You can get Google SMS help information sent directly to your phone by sending the word 'help' as a text message to 46645. For information on a question such as the population of a country, who wrote a certain book, etc. the user puts in a short query and Google goes to work to find the fact and a source for you with its search engine. Users can also do image searches and partner with google to make sure their website is indexed and added to mobile search results. Google even translates regular web pages on the fly to fit a small screen.

Altarama is a company out of Australia which has formed a virtual reference service using SMS for libraries. The text message is translated into an email question which is sent to the library's email address. The librarian sends an answer to the user which is translated back as a text message. The service can also be used to send other short messages to clients such as overdue notices.

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