Did you know that you can search Google on your phone, just by using SMS? That’s right– you don’t need a fancy Web-browsing phone or an expensive Internet access subscription package. All you need is text messaging and a little know-how.
Here’s how it works: You send a message to Google’s SMS number (46645 — that spells GOOGL on your phone’s keypad) and within seconds Google sends an SMS message (or two or three) back to you with the results. Easy!
For example, suppose you wanted to find a pizzeria in for the ZIP code 94401. Bring up your phone’s text messaging screen and enter the message
Then send it to 46645. (That’s an SMS “short code,” so it’s only 5 digits long instead of the usual 10 digits that most phone numbers are. Don’t worry–it’ll work.) After you hit “Send,” wait a minute.
After Google searches its database it will send the results to you in an SMS message or two. The results will usually include a phone number, address, and the distance and direction from the center of your ZIP code. Here are the two messages Google SMS sent after that search recently:
Amici's East Coast Pizzeria
69 E 3rd Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401
0.7 mi, SW
Pizza Hut: San Mateo
670 E 3rd Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401
0.4 mi, S
You can do many other business listing searches by ZIP code or city name, such as florist 90210 or barber san francisco or even specific business names like nordstrom seattle.
You can use Google SMS to search for publicly listed personal names and numbers: John Doe Williamstown MA
You can get movie showtimes by entering the movie’s name and a ZIP code: pirates caribbean 94101
You can even get driving directions via Google SMS, by using “from” and “to” in your query. Here’s an example: from SFO to 101 second san francisco
Here are some more tips on using Google SMS.
There are many other ways to use Google via text messaging. For details, check out the Google SMS how-to guide. Or bookmark this site, SMS 411.net, and come back soon–I’ll have lots more handy information on how to use Google SMS and other services like it.