Google has made available a beta or test version of a new search service for mobile handsets. A query is entered in the handset and Google returns the info via an SMS message.
Information available includes Business listings, Residential listings, Product prices, Definitions, More useful information, and Help. For example, if you were interested in finding a local restaurant you would enter a search term such as Chinese, or pizza, etc. You can make your search term as general or specific as you want. Next you need to identify the location you want searched such as a City and State or the local zip code. To make certain you get Google Local results, put a period between the name of the business and the location (pizza.10013 or pottery barn.boston ma).
For searching residential listings you can use a variety of combinations in your query. Basically you need a combination of a name and city, state, and/or zip code. Price queries involve entering a specific product name or a general one and the word price or you can use the shortcut 'F' before the search terms. To get Definitions, just enter 'define' followed by the word or phrase or use the shortcut 'D' before the search term. Snippets are also accessible. These are text excerpts from the returned results page when you do a search on Google. Using Google SMS, you can get up to two snippets per query. To get a snippet include 'G' before the search term. An example would be 'G population San Francisco' or 'g hubble telescope'. There is also a Calculator for solving a variety of match problems. You can also find area codes and zip codes.
For further info on how to use the service go to here or send the word 'help' as a text message to 46645 on your handset and you'll receive tips on how to use the service.
Any handset with SMS capability can access Google SMS. However, Google SMS only works on major wireless providers in the US including AT&T, Cingular, Nextel, Sprint PCS, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. The cost of sending and receiving your Google SMS query information is dependent on your wireless plan.
Results to queries are received as text messages on your handheld device and they should appear within one minute but could take a bit longer depending on your wireless provider. The maximum number of results for each query is three and are ranked in order of relevance to your query.
If you are a Treo owner, Google notes on their web site that Google SMS and Treo handsets "don't seem to play nicely together." There may also be some difficulty if you've switched wireless providers while keeping the same phone number. In addition, if you have your handset configured to add signatures to all outgoing text messages, you will have to turn off the signature feature to receive Google SMS results. Also, you can't use Google SMS with T-Mobile prepay.