free html hit counter Google Gets Mobile, Launches "Google SMS" - John Battelle's Search Blog

Google Gets Mobile, Launches "Google SMS"

By - October 07, 2004

phoneBlogging from the show floor, but got this email from the Googleplex:


Today, Google announced the beta release of Google SMS, a new offering that enables people who are away from their computers to quickly and easily get instant, accurate answers to specialized queries through text messaging. Using a cell phone or handheld device such as a Blackberry, users can obtain local business listings, dictionary definitions, product prices and more–all available through Google.

Google SMS returns specific information related to a user’s query as a text message to their mobile device. For example, to find a pizza joint in a specific neighborhood, users can send a text message to the 5-digit U.S. shortcode 46645 (also GOOGL on most mobile phones) with the query and city or query and zip code, i.e. [pizza 94043], and immediately receive the name, address, and phone number of local pizzerias in that area. This type of concise information can help mobile users find exactly what they’re looking for anywhere and any time.

Using Google SMS, people can:
. Find names, addresses and phone numbers for local businesses and residences
. Look up dictionary terms to get definitions, expand their vocabularies, or even settle bets
. Compare online product prices with those they find in retail stores, i.e. to find the price of an iPod, users can enter the message [price ipod 20gb]

Google SMS, currently in beta on Google Labs at, extends the reach of Google’s search services to mobile phones and devices, while staying true to Google’s mission to bring more of the world’s information directly to users. Google SMS currently works with wireless providers in the U.S. only, including AT&T Wireless, Cingular, Nextel, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint PCS.

Google is continually developing innovative ideas to improve our users’ search experience, and as always, we welcome your feedback. For instructions on how to get started, users may send a text message to 46645 with the word [help]. More information about Google SMS can be found at

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10 thoughts on “Google Gets Mobile, Launches "Google SMS"

  1. Mike says:

    ha! innovative?… GOOG launches this 3.5 years after Webraska/Airflash and 6 months after Orange UK

    SmartSMS press release:

    Orange UK:

    Viag interkom release:

  2. jerry says:

    A startup company founded by couple former netscape engineers claim they are providing better search technology than google, with additional functionalities to manage the search results.

  3. jerry says:

    A startup company founded by couple former netscape engineers claim they are providing better search technology than google, with additional functionalities to manage the search results.

  4. Bart says:

    The significance of this is the entry of a real competitor to the large, but monopolistic, market of directory assistance. (The US DA is $6 billion in 2004).

    Here in Europe, we have had de-regulation of these markets, so there is real choice in who you dial (and the regulators have mostly refused to allow the incumbents to keep their 411-equivalents, levelling the playing field). This has naturally lead to cutthroat competition and a wealth of new choices.

    SMS has been a part of our DA/DQ landscape for some time, and has made a serious impact in many markets. In Norway, 35% of DA/DQ is now done via SMS.

    Some of the new DA/DQ competitors have realized that they must be a complete “local search” solution, and so are entering into the Internet space.

    For instance, the leading UK provider, The Number 118118, has just launched a full local search website, in direct competition to the leading Yellow Pages. [Full disclosure: they are a customer of ours, using our Internet local search technology.]

    In the coming “local search” battles, we see DA/DQ providers (in Europe at least) as the third major force, alongside search engines and Yellow Pages, competing to win the local online advertising dollar.

    Interestingly, Google’s latest SMS offering is free, but they could just as easily used premium-rate SMS.

    It all makes you wonder – if the US market de-regulates, will Google launch a directory assistance number? I’d say it is a given…

    Finally, a note on Mike’s comment above – no, it certainly is not innovative, but at least it is a comprehensive replacement for DA/DQ. Both of the useless services you mention are LBS “Find my nearest” services; you can’t do any search by business name, nor look up any private phone numbers. You are required to use a limited range of one-word categories to find what you need.

  5. Ack… my trackback ping from failed, for a somewhat ironic, if quite valid in today’s spam-infested blogspace, reason 🙂 Still, it’s good to see a giant make yet another step towards mobile applications…

  6. Fred Squires says:

    Dear Sirs,
    Just wanted to make a comment regarding Google SMS. Google sweard thar T-Mobile supports the new SMS software and yet when I talk to T-Mobile CEO assistant they tell me Google is not supported by T-Mobile.
    Just my two cents worth

  7. ken says:

    tested Google SMS with T-mobile a bunch of times. Let me tell you IT DOESN’T WORK AT ALL. It works flawlessly for Cingular but not T-mobile. That really suck

  8. ken says:

    correction. it didn’t work with my T-mobile prepay phone…. what kind of crap is that?

  9. Mark Jacobs says:

    This is great! I hear Google plans to call this service GMOBILE. How cool! This company is really going to kick ass. Watch out, Microsoft! Gmail, GMobile, G0-Google!

  10. John Ebiman says:

    Has any one tried We provide 411 via sms in the US and via email from cellphones in the UK and France. We also overcome the shortcode problems T-mobile and VirginUsa have with google sms by providing a 10 digit number (3109043113). It does everything that google sms does and more (like you can just send “pizza” without the city or state if you are searching in or around your areacode.