What If The Web Was A Text Message?
Today, I asked Stephan Gromoll for a guest post about a cool new service he has launched which allows you to surf the web by text message. Yes, you can look-up almost any site by texting – not with a mobile browser. Make sure you get this last point – it is really cool.
This is a great tip for anyone without a smart phone – so anyone with basic text mesaging capabilities (that means YOU and almost everyone else that reads this article!) . . .
A new service called DOTGO has created what they’re calling the “SMS Internet”: a new way to quickly and easily access information from web sites like essistme.com using text messaging.
Here’s how it works:
- Create a new text message on your cell phone and address it to the phone number 368266 (which spells out “DOTCOM” on a normal phone keypad).
- In the body of the message, put any domain name, like “cnn” for cnn.com, “digg” for “digg.com”, or “essistme” for “essistme.com”.
- Send the message. In a few seconds you’ll get a response back from the website with a text message version of the site.
DOTGO also works for any .edu, .gov, .net, and .org domain by texting to the corresponding phone numbers DOTEDU (368338), DOTGOV (368468), DOTNET (368638), and DOTORG (368674).
So what can you do with DOTGO? Since websites can easily customize the content that they return, every website offers a different kind of content, just like the WWW. For example:
* Text “essistme” to DOTCOM (368266) to read blog posts at essistme.com
* Text “digg” to DOTCOM (368266) to read news stories from Digg.com
* Text “slashdot” to DOTORG (368674) to read news from slashdot.org
* Text “engadget” to DOTCOM (368266) to read news from engadget.com
* Text “weather” + your zip code (Ex: “weather 90210”) to DOTCOM (368266) to get a weather report from Weather.com
* Text “ezipsky” + your zip code + something in the sky (Ex: “ezipsky 90210 mars”) to DOTCOM (368266) for real-time astronomy information from eZipSky.com.
* Text “njtransit“ + from station + to station (Ex: “njtransit dover hoboken”) to DOTCOM (368266) for New Jersey train schedules from njtransit.com.
* Text “wikipedia” + a search term (Ex: “wikipedia dog”) to DOTORG (368674) to get excepts from wikipedia.org.
DOTGO has a longer list of examples on their phone simulator page that is really cool where you you can try it out live.
So for example, texting “ezipsky 90210 big dipper” to DOTCOM at night might result in a text message sent back to your phone in a few seconds that reads something like this:
(1/1)To see the Big Dipper, face N and look 73 deg above the horizon.
DOTGO is completely free to use (other than the standard cost of sending and receiving text messages), and they supposedly won’t ever send any texting spam.
It also works with almost every cell phone in the US and especially good for quick look-ups (unlike the mobile web, which is clunky and unreliable — and overkill if you’re looking for a short piece of info).
[P.S. Webmasters: you can easily customize how your site looks via sms…for details, just send “contact@dotgo” + your message by text message to DOTCOM (368266), or email email@example.com]
Stefan Gromoll is Co-founder of Scientific Media, Inc., a dynamic mobile startup company that has developed DOTGO. Scientific Media was founded in January 2007, [which won the Stony Brook University DARE entrepreneurial competition and won a National Science Foundation grant in 2008.]