We already suspected Google might enter the 411 arena, when they were granted a voice recognition patent last year. With Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Tellme, it seemed even more likely that Google would one day launch a mobile voice search service.
That day is now here, with Google launching Google Voice Local Search.
As part of our ongoing effort to make the world’s information universally accessible, weâ€™re testing a free service called Google Voice Local Search. Using this service, you get fast access to the same local information youâ€™d find on Google Maps. But you donâ€™t need a computer, you donâ€™t need an Internet connection, and you donâ€™t even need to use your cell-phone keypad. Itâ€™s voice-activated, and you can access it from any phone (mobile or landline), in any location, at any time.
To use the service simply dial 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) from any phone.
According to Google, the new service lets you:
- search for a local business by name or category. You can say “Giovanni’s Pizzeria” or just “pizza”.
- get connected to the business, free of charge.
- get the details by SMS if youâ€™re using a mobile phone. Just say “text message”.
The service is free, but Google warns that, as part of Google Labs, the service may be erratic.
R.I.P. paid 411 services.