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Google Launches Free 800-Number Local Search

Google has launched a free local search service that you can access via 1-800-GOOG-411 (800.466.4411). It’s simple, does only one thing, and isn’t perfect, but it could be the start of a very useful service. You call, give your city and state, followed by a business name or category, and the automated voice starts giving you search results. Sometimes, if it isn’t a dictionary word, the voice guy has trouble making any sense, but the voice recognition seems very solid.

Google’s big competitor in this space is TellMe, which is advertising its competing business search, and was just bought by Microsoft. I love TellMe, but I’m really not liking their business search, which suffers from voice recognition problems, and the annoying habit of asking you what city and state, and later street you are looking for, regardless of previous searches. Still, that’s not what I use TellMe for; I rely on it for news, weather, sports scores, and lots of other vital info. They’ll have to work to beat Google at delivering a good local search product (frankly, neither is doing that good of a job, but Google’s is better), but Google couldn’t hurt to maybe add Google News to their service.

Listen to this clip of it in action from Download Squad:

goog 411.mp3

As you can see, it’s not really all that friendly or nice sounding, but it is mostly effective. TechCrunch says Google may have acquired this in part from 1-877-520-FIND

April 11th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Google Local, Search, General | 6 comments

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  1. […] Did you know the directory assistance industry in the United States is worth $8 billion? That’s surprising news to me, and could explain a lot of why Google entered it earlier this week with 800-GOOG-411. There’s a lot about this industry, one most people probably overlooked, in Olga Kharif’s BusinessWeek article, including this: That’s likely to be music to the ears of the millions of 411 users who, according to consultancy the Pierz Group, pay an average of $1.28 a pop for assistance over a regular phone and a whopping $1.57 for each such call via a cell phone. […]

    Pingback by » Google 411 Shaking Up 411 Industry » InsideGoogle » part of the Blog News Channel | April 13, 2007

  2. […] Tellme by Voice - Just call Tellme as usual (800-555-TELL) and say “business search”. By following the prompts, you will get local business listings. This was active last week, and I tried it out; you can read my thoughts on it at InsideGoogle. […]

    Pingback by » Tellme Launches Several Mobile Business Search Features »  InsideMicrosoft - part of the Blog News Channel | April 19, 2007

  3. is an informative website featuring mobile search articles, news, reports, mailing newsletter, and blogs. Please visit the site for more info on mobile local search.

    Comment by MobileLocalSearch | April 20, 2007

  4. […] Previous article on GOOG-411: Google Launches Free 800-Number Local Search - April 11 Google 411 Shaking Up 411 Industry - April 13 Google 411 Draws You A Picture - July 3 Posted: July 10, 2007 by Nathan Weinberg in: […]

    Pingback by » Google 411 Competitors Hold All The Patents » InsideGoogle » part of the Blog News Channel | July 10, 2007

  5. […] Microsoft has launched its own free 411 service, available at 1-800-CALL-411. Live Search 411 is built on TellMe, which Microsoft bought earlier this year, and lets you speak to a voice recognition system and get business listings, with the option to have the system connect your call or send you a text message with the results. I called the line and had no problem understanding it (and it had no trouble understanding me), so check it out and compare with GOOG-411. […]

    Pingback by » Live Search Gets TellMe-Based 411 Line » InsideMicrosoft-part of the Blog News Channel | October 23, 2007

  6. That great except…how the hell-0 do you call Google for accessing your account? do they have an 800 number if you need help? they have my blocked and I cant talk to a human…

    Comment by mee mOe | April 3, 2008

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