Google SMS – Handy text pages to your phone on the go

Instead of dialing 411 or even having to print out directions, check out the Google SMS service. I was recently looking for a restaurant in the area and my friend said, “just text Google for the name of the restaurant followed by a nearby zipcode and it’ll give you the phone number and address back”.

So I tried it. I texted Google at GOOGL (there’s no ‘E’). This corresponds to the number 46645. I entered:

Cafe India 98101

Though I had the zipcode wrong (it was in the same city though, so we just picked my friend’s home zip code) – this listing came up. He was right. Address, phone number – it was all there. Bingo.

Very cool.

Desktop Search: And the winner is….Copernic

I’ve tried the major desktop search tools (Google, Yahoo! and Copernic) and I must say, Copernic is far superior to the rest.

For those of you not familiar with it, desktop search tools are a new breed of tools trying to do for your own hard drive what search engines have done for the Internet for years: help you find stuff quickly. These days, everyone has large hard drives with their data all over the place. You need a search engine to find your own stuff! Spending time to organize your computer contents mitigates this need, but even then, it’s nice to have a snappy tool to assist you in the search process. These tools search not only files on your hard drive, but also search all of your email, often inside attachments too.

Google gives you results in a web browser, similar to their Web Search that everyone is familiar with. However, Yahoo! and Copernic give you a more powerful rich client interface (application) that helps you segment and preview items much more easily.

The Yahoo! Desktop tool is currently in Beta and it felt like it. The indexing must have been messed up on my version – simple things in emails that it could find when I installed it – it could no longer find on subsequent attempts.

So I resorted to Copernic (I’ve used their general Internet Search Agent before) and I was very impressed. It worked. Flawlessly. I could preview items in one pane and get date sorted results in another – similar to Outlook 2003’s segmentation of folder contents. Copernic has been a joy to use and it is quick.

Copernic is highly recommended (and not just cause it’s from a Canadian company!).