Mobile search and send to phone
I admit that I always have been a bit rough on the mobile community. It's not that I am not a believer; it is simply that I believe that the industry is a bit ahead of consumer adoption and carrier cooperation. For example, seven years ago I just wanted a phone. Not a phone camera. Not a phone with Web access. Just a phone. Of course, those were the days of the great cell phone versus PDA battle in which we all asked ourselves which device would slowly fade away. My how things have changed.
It is clear that the phone has won out, slowly gobbling up the functionality of multiple electronic devices. Camera? Check. PDA? Check. Music? Check. Video? Check. As technology simultaneously shrinks the size and improves the quality of each of these standalone devices, the phone has become increasingly central to our lives. I worry less about leaving my keys or wallet at home than I do about leaving my cell phone behind.
And now it appears that the phone just might replace my need for pen and paper.
Or so it seemed last weekend, when a Google Maps search for a local taxi service reminded me that I could send the number directly to my phone with the aptly named "send to phone" offering. While this functionality has been around for awhile, this consumer either didn't see it or simply chose not to adopt until this past weekend. My interest was peaked. After all, how many times have I lost scraps of paper with handwritten directions? Countless.
And it doesn't stop there. Google "send to phone" functionality is also available via a Firefox extension for easily transmitting important Web content to the now ubiquitous phone.
For Yahoo loyalists, there is a similar offering with a bit more marketing spin: "With the new Send to Phone feature from Yahoo, you can turn your phone into your personal assistant. You can send and store names, phone numbers, addresses and cross-street info on your mobile phone for easy access on the road whenever you might need it." And of course, MSN also added the same functionality about a year ago.
If you are wondering where Ask happens to be in this mix, it is actually sister company CitySearch that takes the cake, creating an additional sponsorship opportunity within the small "send to phone" box. That's right, when selecting to send information for a local firm to your phone, you get the opportunity to see yet another ad. Perhaps I won't give up my pen and paper quite yet.