The Short Messaging Service (SMS) from Google sends short, quick, text answers in response to your queries from an SMS-enabled mobile device, such as a cell phone. For example, you can look up phone numbers and addresses of local restaurants, do local phone book searches, compare prices from online merchants in Froogle to those you find in local stores, even look up definitions of words from the dictionary.
SMS has long been a common means of mobile communication in Europe. It has been available in the US for some time, but hasn't been widely used. You don't need a phone with a web browser to use Google's SMS. Since the information is transmitted as text only, without graphics, only the ability to send and receive SMS messages is needed. At present, the service is only available only in English, through major US wireless carriers like AT&T, Nextel, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Your service plan must allow for SMS messaging also. Use of SMS doesn't generally count against minutes under most plans, but both your SMS to Google and the answer received from Google will typically count towards messages allowed.
Use of the Google SMS service is free at present, though of course users will need to pay any connection and messaging charges from their wireless carriers.
Google SMS can be handy for travel in particular. For example, let's say you've arrived at your hotel, and really have a taste for Chinese food. You may be able to use Google SMS to enter “Chinese food delivery" followed by the zip code of your hotel. Google will return, usually in less than a minute, a list of local Chinese restaurants that offer delivery. This is a nice alternative to looking in a phone book, where you may not know the city, and also is handy for situations where you may not be able to connect to the Internet easily.
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