I'm CEO of DOTGO, which provides access to the internet using SMS.
Good news: you can still access google's search service using the short code DOTCOM (368266). Just text "google" + your search term to DOTCOM (368266).
You can actually access a bunch of websites by texting the website's domain name to DOTCOM (368266). For example, try "cnn" or "nytimes" or "yahoo" or "gmail".
And if you have your own website, you can use DOTGO to make your own website SMS-accessible for free. Visit our website dotgo.com to find out how or check out this doc:
I can't guarantee how long we'll able to provide access, but we will as long as we're technically able!
[first initial dot lastname] @ dotgo.com
Co-Founder & CEO
200 Varick St. #805
New York, NY 10014
Text "dotgo" to DOTCOM (368266) to find out more
Google says their mission is to 'organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.' To me (and several others who have posted in that forum), this seems to be counterintuitive to that mission. Many people can't afford or don't want to pay for a smartphone or the data plan. When you try using SMS search now, google responds "SMS search has been shutdown. You can continue to search the web at google.com on any device". This isn't exactly helpful for someone lost in an unfamiliar city without a smartphone or GPS.
But then, I've never used search by SMS. Finding WiFi makes more sense.
I suspect a lot of people who are lamenting the "loss" of this service haven't used it. I have. It is better than nothing, but it is a hack designed for a world that isn't going to be around for long. If I was a Google shareholder, I'd be questioning them wasting any resources on it.
I'm not trying to say google owes it to us to keep the service running or anything like that. They're a business and it's their prerogative to make decisions like this. I'm reminded of a Wayne Gretsky quote though, roughly "I don't skate to where the puck is, but where it's going to be." And that's solid reasoning. But from my perspective, with a team as strong as Google's, it wouldn't hurt them to leave a player where the puck is either.
You are in an unfamiliar city, attempting to follow directions someone gave you that you scribbled down. You take a wrong turn and wind up in a rough-looking neighborhood at 2 AM. Most of your friends are asleep. What do you do?
This has happened to me, and I counted myself lucky to be able to text google for directions. While this may not be an extremely common scenario, there is the possibiilty that access to google's sms search may have saved someone's life.
I guess such is life in the Googleverse now: if you're unprofitable then you're "distracting us from our core mission". Who wants to make bets on the next service(s) to bite the dust? :)
of course things get shut down when they're unprofitable or not aligned with the business strategy. that is the most basic principle of running a business. google isn't running a charity to provide you with obscure and marginally useful services.
How come they're shutting down so many of their services?
Nope, they are more profitable than ever.
My friend who works at Google explained to me that a big issue is maintenance. It's a tougher problem than it sounds because if an issue comes up someone needs to understand the codebase well. When a product is no longer worth the budget of full-time employees the best course of action is to kill the product.
Goes hand in hand with "shutting down a lot of services" since rounded to the nearest billion dollars the only business Google has is search & display advertising, generally deleting anything else accretes positively to the bottom line :-)
Digital advertising just happens to be a very good industry to be in right now.
I left Google a couple of years after Patrick Pichette joined. Patrick is a great guy and very focused on putting as much money as possible into the bank account (great for share holders, not so great for lifestyle benefits).
But the point is that there is a target return on capital that every group is being held to and those that don't make the cut are being tossed. That helps the overall number get better (assuming those freed up resources either join more profitable projects or leave)
SMS access is useful regardless of whether your handset is smart or dumb. SMS traffic often gets through when data cannot, either because of signal strength or circuit capacity. I have successfully used Google SMS search from my smartphone when it could not load Google.com in the browser--once to find the nearest hospital when dealing with a dangerous medical situation on a hiking trip. Better hope the 3G/LTE coverage is better in the backcountry now, I guess.
This is terribly short-sighted decision by Google.
When I can just click the SMS button, click their picture and go.
People may not cancel their data and get SMS instead but I don't really see SMS going away in any sort of a hurry.
I also think Google's top executives have a certain vision about what apps they will need in the future, and where they are heading, and that doesn't include many of the more "random" projects that were built before.
Which valuable service is being killed off here? I'd never heard of this before. Doesn't look like it is used very much.