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09 January 2009

google text

i've been having a lot of fun with google's sms search engine (see it sounds so simple as to be trivial, but its really groovy.

example: text "w zipcode" to 46645, and get this ( for 9 jan 2009):

Weather: Albuquerque, NM 87106 42F, Cloudy Wind: N 19 mph Hum: 42% Fri: 25F-54F, Mostly Sunny Sat: 22F-47F, Mostly Sunny Sun: 25F-47F, Clear

"w", of course, stands for weather. "d" is define, etc. exactly what "etc." is, though, can be ambiguous.

i send two msgs, "help" and "info" and get useful summaries on how to use the system in response (the wonders of self-describing software!), and i learn that a search for "current movie city" should give me local showtimes.

unless, of course, the current movie is a particular oliver stone flick named "w."

it's an great question - how much is the software expected to infer from context, and how much contextual info is the user expected to provide? personally, with a specialized interface like txtmsg where brevity is a virtue, i really like the "keyword query" model, where the keyword can be abbrev to a single letter.

google, if you're listening use m for movie! 20-some letters await good context assignments...

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