Saturday, September 03, 2005

Will SMS Applications Thrive?

Short Message Service (SMS) text messaging is now standard on mobile phones. (Multimedia Message Service, or MMS, is an enhanced messaging service that adds the ability to attach pictures and sounds to the messages you transmit.) It is widely used. But will it survive in anything resembling its current form?

I am a big fan of Google SMS. I was at Academy buying shoes on a Sunday evening and decided to go to Oshman's in the hope they would have a better selection. Would Oshman's be open on a Sunday evening? How could I obtain their phone number so I could call them? If I used my mobile phone's directory assistance service, it would cost me $1.25. I ended up using Google SMS to determine Oshman's phone number.

I wrote 'oshmans austin texas' in a text message and sent it to 46645 (GOOGL on most phones). Within seconds, I had received a text message back from Google SMS with the address and phone number of Oshman's. Very convenient! Yahoo has a similar service.

I can imagine many useful applications of this sort. There are many situations where we are on the go, need some information, but don't have access to it without calling someone to have them look it up. But I know of only two such services: Google SMS and Yahoo's similar service. And I don't know anyone else who has ever used them. Why haven't SMS applications taken off?

3 comments :

Brandon said...

I think dodgeball is pretty cool but only a few people are using it. May want to try it: http://austin.dodgeball.com/index.php

Roger L. Cauvin said...

Oh yeah, now I remember you and Cote mentioning Dodgeball about a month ago.

bigBADbobby said...

4INFO (shortcode 44636) has a similar text message offering, but provides a few services that Google does not: sports scores ("packers" "nfl"), fantasy stats ("joe crede" "priest holmes"), flight times ("swa san jose san diego") and a beta version of mobile download search. All these services can be accessed via sms (44636), wap (http://wap.4INFO.net ), or email to search@4INFO.net.

Why 4INFO instead of Google?
“When asked recently for the address of a trendy downtown Manhattan club called Butter, both 4Info and Yahoo! located it on the first try. But Google sent back results better suited to baking.”
- Wendy Widman, Forbes.com. 8/3/2005