January 09, 2006

New Cell Phone Concierge Service

Quick -- if asked, which mobile communication gadget do you think is most prevalent? I'd have to say it was the cell phone, including all the convergence variations.

That's why I like services that work easily for cell users, and not just the smartphones either. Things like Google SMS -- their free text message service that acts like Google for your phone. It's already helped me on the go many times, both around town and while traveling. Occasionally, it's even useful to send or receive e-mail via an ordinary cell phone and additional free services like Teleflip really make it easy.

Here's a newer one worth checking out: CNet News just covered AskMeNow, a pay-for service (49 cents per question, billed to your cell phone) that employs a research team who tries to answer and respond to your question via a text message within a mere three minutes. There's also a variety of free automated services per the web site: "Weather, Movie Times, 411 listings, Sports Scores, Directions, Horoscopes, Flight Information, Stock Quotes and more."

While there are limits on what they're willing to answer (for obvious reasons), the price is reasonable. If all you have handy is your trusty cell phone, the AskMeNow service just may be able to provide answers missed by other automated services. I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds great for travelers, particularly as we all know how limiting those tiny screens are for web surfing. Let someone else's fingers do the walking.

Topic(s):   Mobile Tech & Gadgets
Posted by Jeff Beard

4INFO (shortcode 44636) has a similar mobile search text message offering, but provides several additional services that Google does not: sports scores ("lakers" "duke"), fantasy stats ("kobe bryant" "jaromir jagr"), flight times ("swa san jose san diego") and a beta version of mobile download search. All these services can be accessed via SMS (44636), WAP at http://wap.4INFO.net , or at http://www.4INFO.net.

Why 4INFO instead of Google?
“When asked recently for the address of a trendy downtown Manhattan club called Butter, both 4INFO and Yahoo! located it on the first try. But Google sent back results better suited to baking.”
- Wendy Widman, Forbes.com. 8/3/2005

Posted by: Bob Roth at January 9, 2006 03:26 PM