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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

March 1, 2007 at 10:26 AM

MYSBUX to find local stores

My colleague Melissa Allison wrote today about how Starbucks is launching its own short-code messaging system that allows customers to find nearby stores by texting a zip code to MYSBUX.

This is fairly innovative for Starbucks, given that this is the first company I have heard of that offers this service. However, other companies, such as Google, offer an endless number of listings by text message, so I wonder how popular it will be?

As an example, yesterday I text messaged (or is it texted?) “Starbucks 98144” to Google at 466453. And, within a few seconds, I received two text messages back listing two different locations in that Zip code, one on Martin Luther King and the other on Rainier Avenue. The text message included the address and phone number of each store.

I was surprised at how well it worked, but then at the same time, there were only two Starbucks in that Zip code. Imagine if you picked the Zip code for downtown Seattle?

On the Starbucks Web site, I searched in the 98101 zip code, and got 19 responses. I hope you have an unlimited text message plan!

For comparison purposes, I conducted the same test today, this time text messaging (or texting, if you will) 98144 to MYSBUX, or 697289.

The results: After submitting the request at about 10:50 a.m., I’m still waiting. Perhaps you are better off using the other service Starbucks launched, which allows you to easily go to www.starbucks.com on your mobile browser, and enter a city or Zip code of your choice. To get results, it takes as long as your phone takes to load a Web page. For the 98144 area code, I was offered a list of seven choices.

By conducting the search this way, you will incur a data connection charge (unless you pay for unlimited data), but you’ll skip the text messaging fees, which can amount to up to 15 cents a message without a plan. (Yikes, $2.85 in the downtown Seattle example!).

This also reminds me of the Starbucks text messaging campaign it did last summer. It sent you questions by text message that you answered. In the end, I was awarded with a $5 Starbucks gift card.

What’s next?

UPDATE: I never heard back from Starbucks after texting it at 10:50 this morning. So I just tried it again and ended up hearing back immediately. This time I got three responses, even though Google sent me only two yesterday. In addition, if you click on the link in the text message, it takes you to a page with a map. Not too shabby.

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