Alumnus Boris Federov ’05 visited Harker on Feb. 3 to demo txtWeb, a start-up project funded by Intuit that allows users to find information from a wide range of sources by sending text messages to a special phone number. For instance, those who want to look up a Wikipedia entry can text “@wikipedia,” followed by the search term.
The project is also unique in that it allows anyone to create new services for txtWeb by registering a name (such as “@weather” or “@sports”) and creating search terms for it. Students at the event demoed the service with their own phones, and watched Federov demonstrate the ease of making applications for the service. Following the demo, Federov and the students discussed the deployment and usage of txtWeb, particularly in areas of the world where smart phones are less common. The platform, it was said, could potentially be a universal method of retrieving information whose simplicity appeals to developers.
“Before the presentation, I wasn’t sure how useful the txtWeb platform would be in the U.S. or at Harker because many people already have smart phones with a data plan,” said Prag Batra, grade 11, who is president of the Tech Club, which helped organize Federov’s appearance. “After the presentation, I realized that the platform is actually quite useful because text messages are more universal and robust than data.”