Saturday, July 21, 2007

4INFO Offers Instant Info with Texting/SMS

If you need instant information on the go, use the power of your mobile phone and text messaging. While Google may be the best known source available for texting information queries, another good one with many of the same features but with different ones too is 4INFO.

To review text messaging for information retrieval, there are two elements. First you must send the message to a short code, which usually consists of five digits so that you don’t have to key in or remember a whole long phone number. Next, you must enter a keyword so that the service knows how to respond appropriately. For instance, if you are interested in a stock quotation, just key in the ticker symbol such as IBM and text it to 44636 (4INFO).

With 4INFO, you can find information on sports scores, stocks, Wi-Fi hotspots, package tracking, weather, yellow pages, news, flight status, hotel reservations, city search, TV Guide, movie show times, drink recipes, price lookups, jokes, celebrity gossip, and music charts.

Google may be a little stronger for travel abroad for checking airport information, monetary exchange, conversions, questions/answers, and language translations, but 4INFO has some other valuable tools such as package tracking for UPS and FedEx.

4INFO also has some fun stuff such as jokes, horoscopes, drink recipes, and pickup lines. Here’s a corny pickup line for you: Would you like gin and platonic, or do you prefer scotch and sofa? To get an impromptu pickup line just text PU to 44636 and see what you get.

You can also request from and to turn by turn travel directs and a map from Mapquest. If you wish, you can email the directions. If you need help, just text HELP to 4INFO.


Another service 4INFO offers not available from Google is that it will send you alert messages on a wide variety of topics. Real-time alerts include sports scores, player stats, weather, stock quotations, RSS news feeds, package tracking, Craigslist, and even personal reminders. Under the Life & Culture category, you can receive alerts on horoscopes, word of the day, Bible quotations, On This Day, Daily Quote [sic], Love Tips, and Diet Tips. In the Fun Stuff category, you can receive Movie Trivia, Celeb News, Daily Insult, Daily Myth, Fortune Cookie, and Wacky Holidays. You can usually specify when you want to receive the alert and how many.


One of the huge differences between Google and 4INFO is that you must be prepared to receive commercial messages along with your information. It’s sort of like getting Google Ads in 4INFO message. It’s strange that Google doesn’t put ads in their information message yet, but I suppose it will come as certain as bees buzz.

WAP too

If your phone is Web browser enabled, you can go to to retrieve information or to set up alerts.


SMS and 4INFO enables you to acquire instant information on a wide variety of subjects. Google’s SMS offers more services for the traveler, but there is much overlap with 4INFO. 4INFO wins in the fun stuff department, however. Google is ad free while 4INFO is not. Both services are free but you may have to pay per message charges to your service provider. Texting can be addictive and it’s a good idea to get an unlimited usage account.

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