It seems I might be the last person on the planet that doesn’t have a fancy internet phone. But that doesn’t stop me from using it to Google stuff, check my email, or stay up to speed on Facebook, all with simple text messages. Here’s how I do it. (Note: Many of the links in this post only work if you’re logged into your account with them.)
I’m fairly certain you can rig it up with most email providers to forward you a notification when a new message comes in. I like Hotmail the best because it allows me to respond to the text it sends with an “M” to show the next piece of the message. This is the main reason I hang on to my account with them.
But as I said, it’s probably doable for any email system through Email Forwarding, which can be easily set up through the Account Settings of your inbox. I’m fairly certain that every phone has an email address attached to it, which is what you’ll want to get those messages forwarded to. The easiest way to find out what it is would be to send a text message to your email address. Hit reply, copy the address in the “To” field, and plug that sucker into the appropriate box in the settings.
Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace (if anyone uses that anymore) have all got text alerts available to users. But you have to verify your phone before using them. Then you can receive SMS notifications and update your status by texting:
The ever-magnificent Google (SMS Code 466453) has not left us out. I’ve always used it as a Yellow Pages type of deal (And actually they had a similar mobile service but it hasn’t worked the last 5 times I’ve tried it so…) But apparently it can also be used for your everyday Googling whenever you are curious about the diet of banana slugs or need to know what time it is in Tokyo.
Another fun one is ChaCha (242242), though they send an advertisement text along with every answer. I use this one mostly for definitions. “Define Ataraxis,” I might say, and it shoots back a response: “Ataraxis: the absence of mental stress or anxiety.”
Have fun with these. I have most of them saved in my phone and find them quite handy. If there are others you enjoy, let me know in the comments so I can try them out!