GOOG-411: What’s The Number? Where Is It? Now, Get Oriented FREE


June 1, 2009 “One moment, I’ll connect you” used to rack up price-gouging mobile 411 charges in the double digits before GOOG-411 came along.

Kids calling for a pizza can pop an extra $1.50 or two onto the cell phone bill without even realizing mounting mobile charges for directory assistance, so 1-800-GOOG-411 became my new best friend, smack dab on my mobile screen’s top list for autodial. Now? Location. Location. Location.

Their FREE Google Mobile directory assistance has nudged it up a notch to give you an audio location reference (intersection/cross-street & address) for any local business so you don’t have to look away from the road whatsoever!

Safety-wise, this makes sense for kids AND parents to find a business fast, whether an urban warrior headed for a meeting, or a teen driving to meet friends somewhere. Some of the streets in San Francisco run all the way across the city, so hearing the intersection via phone helps your mental map make the jump of which part of town it’s in pronto, without fumbling with maps and visual references.

On the way to the Ypulse conference today, I said, “Hotel Nikko” (it repeated my response as a top listing, asked for confirmation) then informed me I could say “details” to hear the address and cross-street or say “text” and have the info sent directly to my phone.

So I tried both, and it was seamless…

800goog411Admittedly, I already knew where I was going, but wanted to try out the audio voice recognition software and usability.

They did a great job on the Ypulse Conference hotel, but as you can see on my comment thread on TechCrunch, it fell flat on some complicated pronunciations. (e.g. it butchered my favorite Japanese restaurant and a few ethnic eateries)

I also tried ‘mumbling’ and adding ambient noise to test the speech sensitivity and GOOG-411 did just fine after a couple of repeats/bad guesses (bonus silliness: a clever little sound effect of a human imitating a computer while you’re waiting for the data to come back to you)

The text info came to my phone instantly with a link which could open up a Google Map with the destination pinpoint clearly marked.

For me, that means I can just say “details” when I want the audio of the cross street if I’m in a city I know well, and say “text” if I’m in an area where I have no clue and will want a map for in-depth information.

hotel-nikko1-800-GOOG-411 reaches businesses in the U.S. and Canada, (not residences, which would be creepy) and though it still makes me a little goosey about Google’s  massive power that keeps cooking in their labs and has data down to a gnat’s eyebrow, these freebie finds tend to boost and balance out some of the brand’s goodwill.

I’d plug in the toll free number pronto to save yourself a few bucks…

It’s part of my “do this now” media literacy 101 to all kids, teens, and parents as a reminder in this mobile generation that you don’t need a “smart phone” with fancy Google maps giving alternate routes, when you can access cool audio services that can give you basic info like this for FREE.

Here’s a blurb on the original 1-800-GOOG-411


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