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back to article Google abruptly shuts down search-by-SMS portal

Without warning, Google has shut down the gateway that allowed mobile users to access its search engine via SMS text, effectively cutting off from the service customers who lack data plans. The Chocolate Factory launched its SMS search feature in 2004 and has maintained it ever since, providing abridged query results such as …

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No Google phone without data plan

No Google phone without data plan...

Since Google is already has my contacts, I wish that Google provided a phone client/tool/app that did not try to verify my phone by phone number, since I do not have a live phone number and do not have a data plan.

I tried installing (what is it? Talk?), but it wanted to verify me by my phone number. I entered my old, expired number on a lark, and of course it failed.

I once wanted to use Kakao, back in late 2011 or early 2012, but the damned app tore through my contact list, without giving me a chance to cherry-pick what contacts Kakao would be able to see. Then, in 2012, when I went to Korea and met up with a friend who either interns in Kakao or knows some one reasonably well-placed in Kakao, I told him how infuriated I was that Kakao combed my contact list, and probably scooped up all sorts of non-phone contacts whom I entered and to which I appended personal notes. Nothing ever became of it, to my awareness.

Just days ago, I was going to try another phone app, but it wanted permission to review and modify my contacts and other things.

WTF is google so goddamned reticent about giving users a private, maximum security vault so as to deny apps from going through our phone lists?

Suppose one keeps several friends or contacts in the phone, one of whom has a permanent restraining order to stay away from another contact in my list. Now, if one of these apps, including google and facebook, start meta analyzing these people and determines we have not listed either on our friends list, but one or both of them has a fb or g+ account but has not told the other, and both set themselves up to be diffficult for the other to be found, then one of these frackin' phoning or chatting apps might one day say, "So and so is a friend of soo an soo.... Why not connect?

This is fu*king dangerous, and there needs to be a powerful lobby to once and for all put an end to this, no matter what the telcos, fb, google, or anyone else thinks or says.

What Kakao and these other apps are doing is akin to peering over the shoulder of someone opening his or her wheelbook (flip-open paper contact/note pad/tablet), and then being quasi-vulnerable to being an agent of a snoop who wants to scan that book of contacts.

Just infuriating.

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Re: No Google phone without data plan

> WTF is google so goddamned reticent about giving users a private, maximum security vault so as to deny apps from going through our phone lists?

Does this question not answer itself? It contains both the words google and private, and is therefore a contradiction.

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Happy

So THAT is what they mean by "it's complicated"…!

Suppose one keeps several friends or contacts in the phone, one of whom has a permanent restraining order to stay away from another contact in my list. Now, if one of these apps, including google and facebook, start meta analyzing these people and determines we have not listed either on our friends list, but one or both of them has a fb or g+ account but has not told the other, and both set themselves up to be diffficult for the other to be found…

Sounds like it would make a good novel!

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Re: So THAT is what they mean by "it's complicated"…!

Wasn't there a (UK) story a few years back where some guy got thrown in chokey because he signed up to Facebook who slurped his contacts and generated an email to his ex-missis who had an injunction against him ?

Which once again makes me ask: What part of Hotmail, GMail et als T&Cs allows you to give a 3rd party your password ?

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Re: No Google phone without data plan

WTF is google so goddamned reticent about giving users a private, maximum security vault so as to deny apps from going through our phone lists?

There's no money in it ...

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Facepalm

Unlucky SMS Users

It sounds like the poor lambs didn't even have a chance to google "SMS search alternative" before it disappeared.

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Pirate

Shame...

I started using Google's SMS gateway when it came out in 2004, and I still use it several times a year - mostly to check weather or local movies, sometimes to lookup street addresses for restaurants. I'm a cheapskate who still uses a flip phone and have no desire to part with even MORE of my hard-earned for some overpriced "smart" phone with the accompanying charges for Internet access.

Txtweb looks like it might work as an alternative, but I'm none too fond of the whole "@" app requirement. That was the good thing about google - you could send in a fairly generic request (ie - weather 90210, dunkin donuts marietta, iron man chicago) and it was usually pretty good about sending back relevant results.

I'll miss it, for sure.

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MONOPOLY RISING: Google Should Be Broken Up

TRANSLATION:

"Closing products always involves tough choices..."

We just e-mail turn-it-off orders to an intern, really. It's that easy. Remember the very useful GOOG-411? Once we collected enough of your voice data for free, we gave you a middle finger by turning off the service.

"...but we do think very hard about each decision..."

While we promote the delusion of our employees creating useful and enduring lab-to-real-world apps, we think constantly about killing off every project that does not advance our ad revenue. Sure, Google is run by multibillionaires making millions more every minute, but, you know, we cannot possibly afford maintaining that already-written, no-cost, no-maintenance SMS search app. Free is SO expensive, when you're greedy!

"...and its implications for our users."

We couldn't care less about knifing a healthy baby, let alone some faceless user not paying us ad dollars.

"Streamlining our services..."

Forcing people to use only the things that make us CA$H...

"...enables us to..."

...kills off perfectly good tech that has no income stream for us.

"...focus on creating beautiful technology..."

No-Google-revenue tech is outdated and ugly.

"...that will improve people's lives."

Google is an ad company that will sell you out, while claiming to "improve people's lives."

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