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Questions on the Go? Get Mobile Answers.

The whole issue of getting access to information quickly while mobile is something that is on many Treonauts' minds and typically part of their daily mobile activities.

For my part, I often find myself performing searches while on the go for things as diverse as information about paintings or artists at museums, recipes for 'Irish Coffee' or 'Lemon Mousse', movie ratings to select a video rental at my local store, the title or author of a book, the telephone number of a restaurant, the weather in a city where I'm due to travel as well as stock quotes among many others.

However, searches for information on my Treo vary greatly depending on whether I use my web browser, a dedicated application that 'fetches' data from the web or one of the emerging SMS information services.  Choosing which option to use is not always obvious.

Yesterday saw the launch of a new free 'mobile reference search service' by GuruNet called Mobile Answers which should however make your choice for future reference searches very easy because on the one hand their service is absolutely terrific and on the other it's free. 

Mobile Answers is GuruNet's next-generation product that leverages its patented "Answer Engine" technology and which the company claims will provide you with instant answers on over a million topics and you can access it by typing the URL http://mobile.answers.com in your Treo browser (my own preference is Xiino). 

The ability to deliver these 'instant answers' is achieved because in contrast to traditional search engines that serve up a long list of links for you to follow, Mobile Answers displays quick, snapshot answers with concise, reliable information which has been selected by GuruNet's editors among the content from over 100 carefully chosen authoritative encyclopedias, dictionaries, glossaries and atlases. 

For example, my test search for 'Irish Coffee' below yielded one immediate Dictionary result along with 5 other related results categories under Food Glossary, Wordnet, Wikipedia, Best of Web and Mentioned In.

Another search for 'San Francisco' for example again yielded one immediate Dictionary result but also included an additional 9 related categories including Encyclopedia, Weather, Local Time, Geography, WordNet, Wikipedia, Translations, Best of Web and Mentioned In.

Here are links to a few of the searches that I performed to give you an idea of the results: Irish Coffee, San Francisco, Rodin and Million Dollar Baby.

With 'only' one million topics, the Mobile Answers service may not be ideal for all your reference searches but I would definitely recommend that you take it for a spin and bookmark it on your Treo.  It is likely going to prove very useful on more than one occasion when you're looking to get an answer for that pressing question while on the go.

Treonauts are always looking for more answers...

Posted by Andrew on March 30, 2005 at 12:00 PM

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by antmelnat | Mar 30, 2005 1:45:28 PM

WOW! This is a great reference tool. Fast on my Treo 600 too. Thanks for the review and recommendation.

by A. Davis | Mar 30, 2005 1:50:22 PM

Thanks. Excellent site! I've added to my smartphone optimized site listing at palm.nccomp.com. :)

by Al | Mar 30, 2005 2:12:56 PM

It is really great. The only thing I didn't like is what it has to say about "Sesame Street"

"An educational television program for preschool children, particularly aimed at disadvantaged children"


Am I missing something or the "disadvantaged children" phrase makes you unconfortable and not too happy.
Is there anyway they can change that? I don't think parents want to see the definition of sesame street as "aimed at disadvantaged children"


by Jonathan Greene | Mar 30, 2005 5:11:21 PM

This rocks! I love it on the desktop and now on the go!

by Tony | Apr 1, 2005 5:27:04 PM

You briefly mentioned emerging SMS technologies. Have you tried Google SMS? It absolutely rocks. I've found I'm now using exclusively, and no longer even need Directory Assistant...


You can use it for (among other things):
* Business listings
* Residential listings
* Movie showtimes
* Weather conditions
* Stock Quotes
* Product prices
* Definitions
* Google search
* Calculator
* Area code and Zip code lookups

Just SMS to 46645, and it'll text you back (quickly) with the results. Here are some example queries:

pizza 10013
pizza new york ny
john smith palo alto ca
650-555-1234 (note: it does reverse phone lookups!)
Sin City 94103 (note: showtimes and theater for a movie)
movie: movies 94103 (top movies/times/theaters)
weather 75201
weather dallas tx
Price ipod 20gb
F ipod 20gb (F is for Froogle)
43935806X (an isbn - will do a froogle search)
018208252145 (a UPC - will do a froogle search)
define prosimian (or, just d prosimian - returns def.)
g population San Francisco (Google search)

Here's just one example results display:

(1 of 2)
Google Local:
Oliveri Jos Pizza
235 Canal St.
New York, NY

by Anthony | Nov 17, 2005 4:39:41 PM

I have a Treo 650 and love it, but have one major problem. I cant get it to sync with my mac. I have tried everything. I want to start from the beginning and delete the palm software from my laptop.


by TreoRick | Mar 1, 2006 4:51:35 PM

New to Treo so please forgive me. Can I prevent the phone from answering an incoming call by "locking the screen"? I find that when it's in my bag and someone calls me it will sometimes answer that call becase it's being knocked around in my bag and thus the screen gets "touched" which answers the call.

by Katrina | Jun 22, 2006 12:05:48 PM

I have heard there is a way to get my treo 650 to pick up my msn mail / hotmail account. Does anyone know how to do that? Please help!

by Andrew | Jun 22, 2006 1:41:30 PM

Katrina - the application that you're looking for is called GlimmerMail and you can download/buy it here:


Cheers, A.

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