Beyond voice, probably the simplest and most ubiquitous technology on the mobile phone is text (SMS), North America has been a bit of a laggard adopting this technology but in the last year or so has really started to use text. I think the voting on American Idol might have been one part of the tipping point for texting in the US. I’ve certainly seen a rise in the amount of people using text, but being in San Francisco my experience may not be mainstream. Here’s some interesting text interfaces:
- Starbucks has just announced an sms based service to find stores in your area, just text your zipcode to 697289 (‘MYSBUX) , and they text you back with 3 store locations.
- Google has a significant SMS interface, just text your query to 466453 (‘GOOGLE’), try the term sushi followed by your zip code, or weather NYC – see this page for their sms queries
- A Dutch company has a mobile Tamagotchi style video game called “virtual parenting” that uses text and IM as the interface to raise this virtual child, read more about it at the social architects blog
- Dodgeball.com (purchased by google last year) allows you to text your location to it in the form of “@name of venue” and it then texts friends who have opted in with your location, basically trying to enable spontainous social get togethers on the fly
- Lots of so called Alternate Reality Games (ARG’s) use text messaging, in an article about the design and implementation of ARG’s Dave Szulburski thinks that SMS and text interfaces will become more prevalent.
Any other uncommon uses for SMS messaging you know of? leave a comment or email me.