Archive for October 12th, 2004

Fred sent out an interesting new service from Google Labs, Google SMS, with which you can find addresses and phone numbers as well as services based on town and/or zip code. You send a brief SMS message to 46645 aka GOOGL and you get results back fairly quickly.
Of course, I gave it a try. Sure enough I found myself as “paul jones chapel hill nc” “paul jones 27517″ and by my phone number (google sms does reverse look up!). So much for the residential lookup on to Definitions!
I asked GOOGL to define vascular (by sending “define vascular”) and it did a fine job, then I challenged the dictionary a little with “d libertarian” and got “one who upholds and lives the principle of individual liberty and responsibility of thought and action” Not bad. How about a more complicated word like “d community”? For that I got “a group of people living in a particular local area; ‘the team is drawn from all parts of the community” Serviceable, but not as complex as what Google’s “define:community” gives you on the web. Both are drawing from WordNet 2.0 from the Cognitive Science Laboratory at Princeton.
On to commercial services; this uses Google Local. I tried “pizza 27514″ despite of the many many pizza joints in the area, the three I got were somewhat interesting — first Pizza Hut, then Alfredo’s, then Domino’s. Next I asked “Shoes 27514″ and I got a fancy and unique women’s shoe store, “Shoes at the Square”. I ramped up the challenge with “turkish.chapel hill nc” I got a place called “Turk’s Sports Food and Spirits” in Reidsville, NC and a great rug company “Nomadic Trading” in Carroboro. How about “Thai.chapel hill nc”? Better luck there. The first result was the occassionally wonderful Thai Palace just up the road. But also the Thai Garden in Raleigh.
On to online prices. I think this is so you can compare a brick and mortar store’s prices with online stores’. “P optio camera” or “get the price of a Pentax Optio digital camera” gave me a series of various Optios including the 33WR Water Resistant Camera ($349.95 from Dell), the 750Z 7 megapixel ($499 from Comp-U-Plus) as well as a Froogle buy. As it turns out, searching on Froogle for “optio camera” gives the same first three results — duh!
Other features include reverse zip code look up (entering “27514″ gives you a message telling you that that is a “zip code for Chapel Hill NC.), calculator and units convertor (“44 gallons in liters” gets you “44 US gallons = 166.558119 liters”), and the wonderful Google snippets (“g paul jones” gets you my home page! I am still the number one Paul Jones!).
Even though the Google SMS Troubleshooting FAQ says “Google SMS and Treo phones don’t seem to play nicely together.” Everything worked pretty well. One confusion/disappointment is that several messages said “(1 of 4)” yet I only received one message and occassionally two.

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