April 13, 2007

Going Local on Google 411 (aka Goog 411)

You likely heard about the recent Beta service from Google called Goog 411... local search from Google using your mobile. I've been testing out the service and have to say its totally sweet. Best of all, it enables the mobile user to by-pass some of the crazy charges that the unsuspecting mobile user typically winds up taking up the rear from their carrier.. sorry to be so frank but after recently pouring over my cell phone bills doing taxes I can't help but cringe at the charges that these guys throw at us users. Now I have to admit I am much better off being with T-Mobile since I'm now in the US, thanks to my $29 all I can eat data plan. Compare that to the horrendous charges I used to get from Rogers Wireless in Canada... man I feel for you CDN mobile users having to get stroked by these guys each month. Anyway, instead of dialing 411 which will usually get you a charge of $1 or even $1.50 from your carrier (regardless of where you are) try this cool voice recognition local search from Google. It's totally free although you will have to pay for your airtime and txt messaging charges from your carrier - still a great deal compared to $1 a pop! The service uses voice recognition technology to walk the user through the options. Specify a city, submit a business name or type, then listen to the results. A test of this app from my Nokia N80 proved very simple and had surprisingly good results. I search Fort Collins, Colorado for "Bowling" and the "hits" were very accurate providing me with listings of bowling alleys within my region. Once I selected the desired listing I am automatically connected... optionally, you can enter the command "text message" and the results are sent via txt messaging... unfortunately I'm still waiting for the results to come through to my phone.. perhaps T-Mobile isn't supported at this time! Oops.. I take that back... the text message did arrive about 10 minutes after my request (after all, the service is still in Beta). Low and behold I received a txt that contained the address and phone number of the listing... one suggestion I would make would be to also provide a hyperlink to call up the location on Google Maps Mobile.. after all, doesn't everyone have that application loaded ;0) See a screen-cap of the txt message here - Give it a try - See http://labs.google.com/goog411/ or dial 1-800-GOOG-411

1 comment:

Alpinaut said...

The voice API for google maps are comming soon?
I will include in the outdoor sports atlas Alpinaut.com. ;-)