txtWeb :browse internet through sms


“There are roughly 700 million mobile subscribers in India. But, out of those 700 million, more than 600 million Indians  do NOT have access to a computer or mobile data.”

txtWeb is a global platform where anyone with a mobile phone can access internet  just by SMSing keywords ( like web address in browsers) to ONE national number, and receive back content (up to 900 characters per SMS). Keywords represent an  application that user can make use of to  get content from the internet. These applications are created by an open community of publishers and developers.Applications include wikipedia content, local market prices, government programs, financial literacy tips etc.

txtWeb is an SMS-based browser wherein one can browse internet for no charges(provided you have free sms plan to your mobile), but much more accessible than web-browsers on computers since anyone with a simple feature phone can use it. 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.

Using txtWeb:

Just type the keyword and send that sms to txtweb Indian national number 9243342000

Ex: “@cat ignite” , this sms would search for meaning  of the word ignite

Working of txtWeb:

  1. User sends a request to the txtWeb number e.g. @dictionary alibi to 9243342000.
  2. The request is forwarded from the phone carrier to the platform as a SMS.
  3. Platform accepts the keyword and maps it to the external URL for the application (or to the text provided if it’s a text site).The AppUrl /text should be provided by the developer when he is building an app. If it is a txtSite, the content is retrieved from the platform’s database. If it is a txtApp steps 4 and 5 described below are followed
  4. A HTTP call is made to the URL of the application.
  5. The content of the app is sent back to the platform over HTTP.
  6. Platform accepts the content . This is converted to an SMS.
  7. The SMS is transferred to the phone carrier.
  8. The SMS reaches the end user.

txtsites are static text pages used to publish information. It is analogous to a static web page on the internet. A publisher can provide content and the same can be published as a txtSite for consumption over SMS.

Steps to build your first txtSite-

  1. Click on “Create a txtSite” on your home page.
  2. Enter a keyword which would be the handle for your application.(say the keyword is Hello)
  3. Give your txtSite an appropriate description. This description would help in easy discovery of your application. The Search on the platform takes the description into account when searching for relevant apps against the search term entered by the user.(You could enter- “This is my first text application”.
  4. Enter relevant text to be sent to the end user when he accesses your application e.g- “Hello World!! I am live”
  5. Click “Publish” to get our app up and running on the platform.

Txtapps are dynamic pages used to provide information to an end user on the basis of the request he makes via SMS. It is analogous to dynamically populated web pages on the Internet. Unlike a txtsite, one needs to develop a web application, to render dynamic information to the end user using a txtApp.

There are 3 parameters that the platform sends to an application viz-

Txtweb-mobile- The mobile number of the end user in hash format

Txtweb-message- message sent by the end user

TxtWeb-location- The location as set by the end user.

One needs to access these information via API calls. The relevant information is passed as an XML.

Example Code to build a Hello World txtapp

private String TestMessage() {

String resp=””;

Resp= “+ “\” />Hello World < br/>< br/>”;



This is a html response that would display hello world on the browser once the servlet is invoked. The String resp is sent to a method sendResponse which is given below-

private void sendResponse(HttpServletResponse response, String resp)



//resp contains htmlized version of Hello World

PrintWriter out = response.getWriter();


} catch (IOException e) {}


So where you are if wanna google someting jus send an sms “goog <search parameter>” to no 9243342000.. Have fun using  txtWeb.


2 thoughts on “txtWeb :browse internet through sms

  1. Neville says:

    Hey.. thanks for sharing this information. I’m glad the ever present SMS software is so much more useful now. Have you seen this video showcasing the features of txtWeb apps? Here’s the link – . I think its worthy of a blog post by itself!

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