RealTime IT News

Teragram Puts Social in Search

Information retrieval application vendor Teragram has launched MyGADS.com, a new service that allows consumers to publish information that can be shared and retrieved using their cell phones.

Announced this week at the CTIA show in Orlando, Fla., the service allows users to create what the company is calling a GAD, a Web page containing text, graphics or tabular information such as names and phone numbers or team schedules.

Once created, users can query or add information through a traditional search box that appears on their cell phones. Each GAD can be password-protected and accessed by specific groups of people, such as friends, family members, sports teams or schools. Permissions can be set by the content creators so their GADs can be searched, shared and edited by others.

Once a user is enrolled, they can add a statement, such as "Jill's birthday is 6/4/83." MyGADs.com acknowledges the added information by responding, "Statement Added." Now, the user can access this information on a mobile phone by texting queries, such as "What is Jill's birthday?" MyGADs.com responds, "6/4/83." The same information is also available under the user's account at MyGADs.com and on the user's instant messaging system.

The service is also pre-populated with location-specific information such as weather and time, as well as encyclopedic information from Wikipedia, the Internet Movie Database and conversion calculators from metric to English.

The beta version of the system is currently available free of charge. The final version of the service, expected to launch at the end of the summer, will be free and ad-supported for consumers.

Yves Schabes, CEO of Teragram, said subscriptions will be available for enterprises and other heavy users, with no ads appearing for paid customers.

According to Schabes, the service ties together the disparate strands of social networking and mobile computing by allowing users to share and retrieve information on the move. It is a natural evolution of Teragram's language-processing technology into the consumer space. "We've transformed the search box into a dialog box," Schabes told internetnews.com.

One differentiator the service has going for it is that the technology behind the application recognizes the difference between a query and a statement.

"We designed the system for the consumer market, so we designed it to be very easy," Schabes noted.

Teragram has signed agreements with Verizon , AT&T  and Sprint Nextel and expects to sign an agreement with T-Mobile next week. Users can enroll by visiting MyGADS.com or texting to short code 72044.

Matt Brown, an analyst with Forrester who follows collaboration tools, told internetnews.com in an e-mail that the application is likely to gain traction among consumers more quickly than within the enterprise, where it would be perceived as a "nice-to-have."

However, MyGADs may well be seen "as a value-added service for sites like MySpace, Facetime, public personal blogs, public portals, and others."