Uncommon Uses – SMS (Text) Based Interfaces

Beyond calling the most common use for a mobile phone is SMS and in recent years we have seen this service being used by many companies for a variety of reasons, mostly to good effect. Now of course the idea behind SMS is to stay in touch with out nearest and dearest, let them know we’ve arrived safely, ask them how they are and to send annoying chain messages, but there are also some uncommon uses for this service which you may be interested in. 

We have already seen some uncommon uses for Twitter, now let’s take a look at what we can do with SMS. 


One use which we have seen really come to the fore of late is voting for TV shows and American Idol kicked that off just last year, which is not only a great way of getting people involved in the show, and far easier than having people call in, but this is also a great way to increase the number of entires per person thus gaining more money for the show.

Finding Services

Starbucks have recently rolled out a wonderful service which can help you to find the nearest place to grab a mocha in your area. All you need to do is to send an SMS with your zip code and the service will then reply to you with the address of your nearest Starbucks. This works across the nation so no matter what you are doing or where you are, you’ll be able to count on that cup of joe in just a few clicks. 


There is a Dutch company which has been working on a new tamagotchi style game which can be played via SMS. The game centers around looking after a digital child and messages are used to do it. This is a fascinating game which is very much in the early stages and pave just how much one can do with a simple SMS. 

Checking In 

Dodgeball which was acquired by Google last year has the best approach to SMS use in my view and that is to use it so that people can check in somewhere and then tell all of their friends about it. What happens here is that when you arrive at our favorite restaurant or location, you send a message to the server of Dodgeball with which friends you’d like to tell, the company then forwards that message on to your friends who can come and meet you or at the very least will know where you are. This is an amazing use for SMS and I genuinely hope that Google really make something special from it in the coming years. 

There is much more that SMS can be used for than simply chatting with friends and family, much more in fact.