Get information while on the go, even if your phone isn’t all that smart. All you need to do is send a text to Google.
Look up the phone numbers of local businesses, check the status of any flight, translate any word, convert currencies or see scores for recent game. All this and more is a single SMS message away, regardless of what kind of phone you use.
Google’s SMS Search is little-known, and doesn’t work as well as it used to, but it’s a great way to look up an address or do a quick conversion from any mobile phone. This service isn’t new by any stretch of the imagination, but most people aren’t aware it exists so I thought I’d explain how it works.
Feel free to leave comments about how everyone should simply own a smartphone in the comments below, but realize not everyone wants to pay for a data plan – and thanks to services like this, we don’t have to.
Using Google SMS Search
Basically: you can use Google by sending your search term to 466453 (GOOGLE, if your number keypad has letters). You’ll quickly get a return message with the answer to your question.
Obviously searching for a website won’t be helpful if your phone can’t access the resulting page, but Google’s search results often offer answers directly. For example: you can use Google as a calculator.
Google SMS works best for these sorts of commands and searches. A few examples are outlined on the Google SMS page:
You can check out this page here. It’s interactive, meaning you can learn how the service works without using your cell phone: just click or type your own queries.
Want to see this service in action? I’ll post a few examples I ran on the site to explain things.
Looking for a place to order pizza locally? Just enter “pizza” followed by the name of the city you’re in. For example: I typed “pizza in Boulder”. Here’s what showed up:
Now you have a number to call.
Traveling, but not sure what your money is worth? You can quickly look up a current conversion. For example: I sent Google “1 usd in cad”. Here’s the response I got:
Believe it or not you can also translate text. For example: I typed “translate awesome in french”
I think you get the idea by now: send a text, get an answer.
Things That Aren’t Working
Of course, a few things Google advertises simply aren’t working. For example: a search for “weather Boulder” gives me this:
Believe it or not I didn’t want the local address for the NWS – I wanted a forecast.
So the service is kind of guess and test. I suggest trying the Google SMS live demo to learn what does and doesn’t work.
This isn’t the only SMS tool for “dumb-phone” users. Here are a few more:
- How to make your dumb phone smart with ifttt
- Add events to Google Calendar via SMS
- Access Google’s services via SMS using Delighta
Know of any other SMS-based services for those without data plans? Fill me and the other readers in using the comments below. We look forward to it!