Thursday, July 9, 2009 : Pretty useful everywhere

It could be the first experience of internet in Uganda. SMS search is a very useful tool in everyday situations, everywhere. In India, I have been using Google's SMS search which was launched sometime back, for such things as train availability, ticket (PNR) status and the like and found it to be so handy.
I have tested it even with finding a physician and it was spot on.

Having a simple app and great content makes a great solution. Where I am using it, the Google SMS service needs us to send a text message with the query to a non-premium phone number ( without the shortcodes used to commercial services which charge more per SMS sent ) . Long search results are split into multiple messages that can be requested one after the other by sending a simple message as reply ("Next") .

Very handy as it is in the limited medium of SMS, the speed and ubiquity are what makes the Google SMS service a Swiss Army knife in most situations. Taking it to Uganda is a challenge in terms of getting quality content and this story (link below) is worth a read for it.

Official Google Blog: Designing useful mobile services for Africa


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