Tech-Savvy Daughter

A Phone Book?

Last updated:

July 15, 2010

A phone book is one thing you'll never see your kids or grandkids use. So what are we using instead? The Internet and our cell phones, of course!

Here are some tips and tricks for finding local information online:

  • is just like the paper-based version, but better! You can quickly search for businesses or people. The listings also include maps, directions, and reviews.
  • Google Local is another great way to find contact information, maps, directions, and reviews for local businesses. Search tip: You can also get local information from the main Google search interface by including your zip code after your search term e.g. Restaurants 10019.

But that's just the beginning...Are you ready to really impress your family and friends with your savviness? Start using your cell phone to get local information when you're on the go. You don't even need a fancy smartphone, just basic text messaging capabilities (standard text message rates apply).

The service is called Google SMS. SMS stands for Short Message Service, which is just another name for "Text Message." The service is simple: You send your query in a text message to Google and immediately get a text message back from Google with the answer to your query.

  • To get a business listing, enter the business name or category you want to find and include the city and state or zip code (ex: Taxi Cab Austin TX or grocery 10019)
  • Send your text message to 466453 (GOOGLE).

Click here for more information about Google SMS, including an interactive demo. The demo also shows the other types of queries you can do such as weather, movie times, stock quotes, flight status, etc.

Tip: I'd suggest adding Google to your contacts list in your phone and 466453 as Google's phone number (don't worry that it's only 6 numbers).

A word of caution: Try to be as specific as possible with your query. For example, you probably don't want to query "Pizza, New York" because you'd end up getting tons of listings and potentially tons of text messages. However, fear not....if you accidentally query something too broad, simply send a text to 466453 with the word "Stop" in the body of the text.

So say goodbye to your bulky yellow phone books and hello to local information at your fingertips (and a few extra cubic feet of space in your kitchen and office drawers!)

Give it a try. Let me know how it goes :)