Whether you are a fan of Google or not, you have to agree when it comes to innovation, Google knows no boundry. Google labs is the place where all the Google geeks go to try out their weird experiments before blasting it out and take the breath away from competing companies.
This last Friday (6th April,2007) , Google just gave another heart pounding blow when they announced an experiment to use speech recognition on telephones so consumers can ask for local information in short voice activated directory assistance service. This experimental product, Google Voice Local Search in short GOOG-411, is currently only available in English, in the US, for US business listings.
So what you need to do is dial 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) from any phone. You can either ask for a local business by name or type (for example Gas Station, Bar, Super Market, Dry cleaner etc.), you can even have the details sent to you via SMS. All of these are free, where conventional 411 calls in US cost $1 and higher. Google doesn’t charge users for the toll-free call or for connecting the caller to the business. Regular phone charges may apply, depending on the user’s telephone service provider.
The GOOG-411 isn’t full proof. Google already said it is seeking to fine-tune the computerized system to improve how the service recognizes users’ requests. They also mentioned that this service may not be available all the time and may not work for all users. Well off course, that is the reason GOOG-411 is still under Graduate in Google Labs.
Over time, the voice quality is likely to improve as Google roll it out for rest of the major business playgrounds, such as UK, Ireland (ok it’s not that big), France, Germany, Australia, Hong kong and Japan. This Voice activated search works a lot like conventional Google search on the net, the difference is instead of typing the keywords users are saying the keywords. From a business perspective, Google’s experiment will attract a lot of attention. Why? well, naturally because of the cost effectiveness. Don’t expect it to be ad free though, in the near future ads will roll in, that’s for sure.
Experts are predicting this might be Google’s response to last week’s Microsoft Corp. acquisition of voice search firm Tellme Networks Inc. The deal valued at more than $800 million.