We are bringing the power of Google Search to users’ fingertips



What made Google India launch this service in India?
Mobile is a priority for Google, and nowhere is it more so than in Asia. The
mobile adoption level in India is among the fastest in the world with more than
six million being added every month. As mobile becomes more important in
people’s daily lives, it also becomes more important for Google’s mission of
making the world’s information universally accessible.

What is the Google SMS service, and how would an end user avail of this?
Google SMS is a beta offering that enables people to access certain Google
search features by sending and receiving text messages on their mobile phones or
handheld devices. It enables mobile users to quickly and easily get business
listings, movie show timings, and more, all while on the go.

To avail this service, users can text their query to 54664 to get a list of
relevant results on their mobile phone. For example, for queries related to
local business listings, the search will provide the address and telephone
number for each result. The search service helps users access a range of local
business listings from their mobile phone. After multiple searches for the same
area, the service saves the users location, so they don’t have to re-enter it
every time they search. If the user is in a different area from this default
location, all he needs to do is specify their current location to get local
listings. What is important to note is that in case there are no results for a
query, the user receives an SMS informing the same.

What is the USP of this service considering that others (like Yahoo) have
also launched it before you?
We are focused on building a product that delivers the right answer for each
search, every time. We are looking forward to adding more features and improving
performance and usability based on user feedback from this release. Google SMS
search brings the power of Google Search to users’ fingertips, making
information available to them on the move, without the need of a computer or an
Internet-enabled phone. Some of the features unique to Google SMS include
personalization and a host of useful features beyond local listings.

Will you be charging users or will it be advertisement driven?
Our strategy is focused on delivering relevant information to users through
the medium of their choice. To use this service, the users would be charged a
premium SMS rate by the carrier. However, we are continually working with our
partners to explore opportunities that add value to the user at the lowest
possible cost.

Do users require high-end GPS enabled handsets? How do you plan to
popularize this service considering that only a very small percentage of mobiles
are high-end in India?
To use SMS Search, users need a basic mobile phone capable of sending and
receiving text messages. To set their location, users can text ‘set location’
followed by a valid location (locality and/or city) to a particular number.

Will Google India venture more into the mobile-based service market or
will it be a one-off thing?
Mobile is a priority for Google, and as mobile becomes more important in
people’s daily lives, it also becomes more important to Google’s mission of
making the world’s information universally accessible. We believe that people
world over should be able to access the information and content they need,
whenever and wherever they need it from their desktop to their mobile phone.

Stuti Das
stutid@cybermedia.co.in

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