Google: Sending Out an SMS

Google has taken the wraps off of a beta release of Google SMS, a preliminary mock up of a service offering that extends Google's reach to cell phones and other handheld devices.

Participants can write and send specialized queries to Google's 5-digit U.S. shortcode to find out what they are looking for within a specified zip code. Google SMS returns names, addresses and the phone numbers of local businesses and residences; provides a dictionary lookup, and compares product prices between local retail stores.

Users should not expect the functionality of the full-fledged Google search engine on their cells phones just yet. Instead, Google Labs chose to keep it simple and target scenarios where the service would be of practical use in everyday life. For instance, when users SMS "pizza 94043", they will immediately receive listings for local pizzerias within the 94943 area code.

While it may not yet be as simple as dialing 4-1-1, users may text 46645 (GOOGL) to participate in the beta program.

At the present time, the service is only available in the United States. The service works with leading wireless providers including AT&T Wireless, Cingular, Nextel, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint PCS. For more information visit the Google SMS Web site.

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