Search results, without the fancy gadgets | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 10, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 10, 2010

Search results, without the fancy gadgets

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With any new query that flashes your mind, what is the first thing you do? Do you instantly punch it into a Google, Yahoo or Wikipedia search engine on your laptop or smart phone?
But say you are away from all your up-to-date electronic gadgets, with the exception of a simple mobile handset with no internet connection? I guess all you can do is sit it out till your interest in the topic dies out.
Thanks to a new mobile application devised by a group of Bangladeshi developers, you will now be able to look for information on the popular search engines even without having an internet connection. Sounds weird?
No, it is no fairy tale. The new search application named 'Khoj The Search' will enable a person to search any information or download any file from the web via a simple short message service (SMS) or multimedia messaging service (MMS) from an ordinary handset.
Not only that, the search based application will also enable a user to find his/her current location with a map to send to a friend. Songs, videos or image can also be sent as MMS with the application.
Three young developers from American International University of Bangladesh (AIUB) -- Md Avishek Ahmed, M Parvez Rashid and Khalid Mahmood -- jointly developed the programme.
“We first started working on this application in February this year. We wanted to create an easy search service for those who don't have internet access”, said Avishek, who is a computer science graduate and now a lecturer at the computer science department at AIUB.
The application also clinched the first prize in the recently held 'Aloashbei Mobile Application Development Contest 2010'.
“The idea for a name of the application came into my mind when Khalid, Avishek and I were watching a new Bangla movie called 'Khoj The Search'," said Rashid, who is currently an instructor at the same university.
To search for an item on the internet, all that an user will have to do is send a SMS to a certain number and the application will search the web (including Wikipedia, Google and Bing) and send back an SMS or MMS containing the search results.
For example, if someone texts 'Amadeus Mozart' through a mobile phone using the application, it will send back a SMS with details on Mozart.
Again, if one texts '#Amadeus Mozart', he or she will get back details along with a picture of Mozart in a MMS.
Users can also find something nearest to the person's location.
For example, if one texts '#near kfc', the Khoj will try to find the nearest KFC outlet and send an SMS with the address.
The Khoj can also download a file, song, video or image from the internet and send them as MMS to a desired mobile number.
By sending a text saying '#download http://www.freewebs.com/thebirdsmedia/faint.mp3', the application will download the faint.mp3 file to your own mobile phone and the message '#download http://www.freewebs.com/ thebirdsmedia/faint.mp3@ ******** (desired number)' will send the song to the number.
“In a country where an overwhelming majority of the population does not have smart handsets with web access, this application, would provide an easy access to information,” said Mahmood, a lecturer at AIUB.
To use this service as a demo, one just has to download Khoj-the-Search.zip from aloashbei.com.bd, install Khoj-the-Search-Setup.msi, then login or register with the Aloashbei username, password or phone number and follow the instructions on the profile.
In future, the application will undergo further changes to enhance capacity and features as the service is likely to receive a huge response from the growing number of mobile subscribers, said the developers.

mehdi@thedailystar.net

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