Starbucks has launched a service that allows you to get a list of the closest Starbucks by sending a text message with your zip code to “MYSBUX” (697289). After doing so, you’ll receive a text message listing the 3 nearest Starbucks locations with their address, phone number, and a link to a mobile-friendly web page that tells you if that location has WiFi and where the store is located on a Microsoft MapPoint map.
If you have a cellphone or smartphone that can browse the web, you can also navigate to their mobile-friendly site – mobile.starbucks.com – to find the nearest stores, identify which ones have Wifi, get maps, directions, etc.
I compared the text message service to Google’s 411 text message service by submitting 3 different locations (Somerville, MA, Cambridge, and Brookline, MA) to both services and got better results with Google 33% of the time (I’m sure this percentage will fluctuate depending on the city). When I say “better results,” I mean that Google returned more stores that were closer to my location. When I searched for stores nearest Brookline, MA, the Starbucks service didn’t return one store that was the second closest to my location. The response time from both services were equal – I got replies within 10 – 20 seconds. Overall, the Starbucks service is easier to use because all you have to do is enter your zip code whereas, with Google’s SMS service, you have to enter name, city, and state or zip code. The Starbucks service always returns 3 results compared to Google’s 2 – 3 results.
I also tried the Starbucks mobile site and was surprised at how fast it was. If you don’t want to use text messages, this is a very good alternative. Plus, the mobile site gives you a lot more results.
At the end of the day, I love Google SMS and will keep using it since it’s a lot easier to remember the number: “GOOGLE” (466453). Needless to say, I’m recommending Google SMS because not only can you search for Starbucks locations but you can search for anything else – it’s basically the mobile version of the 411 Directory Service.