Google 411

Whenever I used 411 to look up the phone number I need, I always feel being ripped off by the telephone company. The information is free out there on the internet, yet my mobile carrier charges me 50 cents for each call. Now, I don’t have to up with my frustration with the 411 operators anymore, here it comes the Google 411.

Call 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411), you are greeted with a computer voice asking for the business or phone number you are looking for. You simply say the location and business name, Google will redirect your call to the destination. No more long distance fee if you are trying to call a business out of town. Google 411 supports all US and Canada numbers but it only works in English. I tried calling my office with Google 411, it works like a charm. It can even understand my not so perfect Chinese-accented English. If you are calling form a smart phone, you can even ask Google 411 send you a map of the number you looked up.

I wonder how Google is making money off from this great service. It does not have any advertisement at the moment, but I think people won’t mind listening to a few seconds of advertisement before getting the number. I read a bit more about Google 411 and it turns out totally not what I expected it to be. Google has no intention to make any money from this service, they are not even consider selling advertisement. The service is a giant experiment to build a huge phoneme database to train their super voice recognition system. What else is better than giving a free service and get all sorts of people with different accents call and leave you their voice?

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