What is txtWeb?
txtWeb is a global platform where anyone with a mobile phone can discover and consume internet AND txtWeb-only content just by SMSing keywords (very much like entering domain names into internet browsers) to ONE national number, and receive back content (up to 900 characters per SMS). Keywords represent an almost unlimited number of applications that use content from the internet or have their own original content. These applications are created by an open community of publishers and developers (which can be anyone), and can include wikipedia content, local market prices, government programs, financial literacy tips etc. A user can think of txtWeb as an SMS-based browser, but much more accessible than web-browsers on computers since anyone with a simple feature phone can use it.
Also, importantly, for publishers, developers and businesses, txtWeb is one of the fastest platforms to make content and services available to billions. Deploying existing content via a txtWeb site takes only 5 minutes. Creating and deploying an SMS-based app on txtWeb usually takes about 5 hours.
Why is txtWeb relevant?
There are roughly 700 million mobile subscribers in India. However, out of those 700 million, more than 600 million Indians (and 3 billion people worldwide) do NOT have access to a computer or mobile data plans (i.e. mobile internet). They have been missing out on important information and services that directly impact their lives, including government programs, job/career services, news, health, education, market prices, and weather -- information and services that are often found on the internet, but not accessible with simple feature phones...until now. Now with txtWeb anyone with a mobile phone can quickly access content that helps them live healthier, more prosperous and fulfilling lives. At its core, txtWeb empowers people, particularly those who need it the most, by giving them access to information and a space to share content. Moreover, even those who have internet, use txtWeb because it is a more convenient way to get a specific piece of information in seconds. Read more about the txtWeb vision.
How do I use txtWeb?
Just type keyword for the service you are looking for and SMS it to 92433 42000 in India and 898-932 (TXT-WEB) in US and Canada. For example, just SMS @CRICBUZZ to get the latest cricket scores, SMS @WIKIPEDIA LATIN to get the Wikipedia entry on Latin language, SMS @STOCKTIP to get stick tips or SMS @PASSPORT to know the status of your passport application. You can also SMS anything without the “@” sign, in which case it will default to search and provide you a list of relevant services. At this time there are 700 services which have been crowdsourced. See complete list
What does it cost to use txtWeb?
We do not charge for this service. In addition, since the access number is not a short code, the user does not pay any premium charges to access this service. Only standard SMS rates as per the carrier plan apply.
How does somebody develop for txtWeb? How much does it cost?
txtWeb provides resources to help developers get started and receive support through our forum. This includes documentation, video tutorials and a strong developer community that is motivated to help you succeed. Just sign up, get a keyword and link it to your app and you are done. It is free and open to all. Find tutorials
Does txtWeb support languages other than English and non-Roman characters/scripts?
Yes, txtWeb as a platform supports all languages and non-Roman characters/scripts. For a user to consume non-English content, the specific txtWeb app being used should be able to support that language and user’s handset should have that language font installed. Most users in India have Nokia handsets which comes pre-installed with Devanagari script, which is used by major Indian languages such as Hindi and Marathi, with 600 million speakers.
How is txtWeb different from other platform and services?
There are several areas of differences:
1. txtWeb is one of the fastest platforms for publishing. Deploying existing content via a txtWeb site takes only 5 minutes. Creating and deploying an SMS-based app on txtWeb usually takes about 5 hours.
2. txtWeb is purely SMS-based. It neither requires smart phone nor a data plan. Nearly 100% of mobile phones in this world are SMS-enabled and can use txtWeb immediately.
3. txtWeb is an open platform. Anyone can build an app and deploy it on txtWeb and make their service available to any user. It is an open marketplace of SMS apps.
4. txtWeb is vertical agnostic. We support and encourage all verticals. We have apps that allow users to chat with their friends (@CHAT), do local search (@FINDS) and global search (@GOOG), and a variety of other things.
5. txtWeb is primarily a pull service, similar to the Internet. Users choose what they want when they want and they receive it as an SMS on their phones.
In which countries is txtWeb available? What localization effort is needed for those countries?
txtWeb is currently available in India, US and Canada and we have plans to add more countries. Once you build and deploy your app on txtWeb it is instantly available in all the countries where txtWeb is present. No incremental globalization/localization effort is needed.