Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Google Launches 800GOOG411 - A Voice Search Service

Google launched a new product called Goog-411 into Google Labs - a free telephone based information service that could replace toll 411 calls. This is a free voice-based directory search service that can recognize speech and read results over the phone or return them in an SMS.

This new service can be accessed by dialing 1-800-GOOG-411. The service is completely automated and there is no way to talk to a human for additional or clarifying information. You tell it your city and state, and then ask for a specific business or business category. In my tests the product was excellent. Although the voice recognition was only working at about 70% efficiency, I just said “back” and retried when it didn’t understand what I said. Results are spoken back or text messaged back to you, and you are automatically put through to the phone number requested.

GOOG-411 is using Google’s normal local business information available on Google Maps and elsewhere. Businesses that want to add or correct data can do so here.

The product competes head on with Jingle Networks, which has taken 6% market share in the U.S. 411 business over the last year. AT&T is also experimenting with free 411 calls. None of these products come anywhere close to as good as TellMe’s rich client business information tool for mobile phones, but few phones support TellMe at this time (TellMe was recently acquired by Microsoft).

No comments: