Google text messaging offers on-the-go assistance

On a recent trip to Manhattan, I sat outside a Soho boutique, enjoying the beautiful spring weather, while my sister tried on new outfits. Normally content to forego shopping for people-watching, I noticed several passersby carrying bags from Shabby Chic, a favorite West Coast store I had yet to see back East. When my sister rejoined me, I asked where the store was.

"I don't know offhand," she said. "Why don't you text 'Shabby Chic NYC' to G-O-O-G-L-E?"

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I'd never heard of this feature, so imagine my surprise when, within five seconds of sending the message, I had a text reply from Google (466453) listing the store, its street address, and telephone number. We were just two streets away, and within a few minutes of texting the inquiry, we were browsing the racks for new linens and housewares. We saved a lot of time by not having to wander aimlessly (and with my poor sense of direction, the very real possibility of not finding the store at all).

Since that first successful attempt, I've used Google text messaging for any number of requests, including directions, Red Sox scores (they even provide runs-by-inning information), and flight schedules. It's become one of my primary methods of research while out and about.

According to Google, you can text requests for local business listings, weather, movie times, stock quotes, currency conversions, and more. The technology is still in beta form, but I've found it reliable and incredibly useful, both in my travels and day-to-day errands. I can only imagine its capabilities once it's officially launched.

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