Followers of this blog know that I am not a fan of text messages or more specifically the crazy rates cell phone companies charge for them. These 160-character (and by the way, when’s the last time you got a 160-character message from someone) communiqués can cost 20 cents a message.
However, some people have avoided this problem by getting unlimited text messaging. One option to take advantage of this is to send and receive massive amounts of messages, but that doesn’t show much creativity. One way to really take advantage of unlimited texting is a new service called DotGo, which I heard about here from the good folks at technologizer.com.
DotGo allows you to send the domain name of a website in a text message to them. The top-level domain (e.g. .com, .org. .edu) will determine the number that what number you use for the text message. The number is actually spelled out using the letter values on the number pad, (DOTCOM address go to the number 368266.) which makes it easy to remember.
You are then sent a text message with a description of how to interact with the website you’ve entered. When you use this website techeap.com, you’ll get a list of the last ten blog posts (in 3 separate messages) and if you wanted to read any of them you would just reply with the number for that entry. Dotgo would then send you a series of text messages until the whole article is sent.
While this may not be the most efficient way to read a website, many other website are much more optimized to use this technology. If you use enter Google or Yahoo and a search term, DotGo will return some of the top hits. There is a simulator on their website, but it was not working for me when I tried it.
One very useful integration for me was with NJTransit. You simply send them the message NJTransit and the locations you want to go between, (for example “njtransit nypenn woodbridge”) and they will send you back a schedule of trains.
Some queries got returned faster than others and my tests were mostly done during off-hours, but the service was pretty speedy overall. While this certainly will not replace browsing on a web-enabled cell phone, if you don’t have an advanced phone and you need a way to get information, this may be exactly what you need.
The service is free, but some of the sites it has integrated with will have ads embedded at the end of messages about them. They promise and I haven’t gotten any spam or other unrequested messages from them. All of the tests I did, did not have any ads, but I’m sure that will change as the service matures.
Is this something that you might use? Let me know in the comments.