News You Might Have Missed: Google’s 411 Free On Your Cellphone

Evidently, Google’s had a free 411 service for quite some time. Via the Official Google Blog:

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[A] few months back we launched 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) in the U.S. It’s a free telephone service that lets you search for businesses by voice and get connected to those businesses for free.

Aside from the free part, it’s not much different than regular 411. But wait, that’s not the fun part …

Today, your GOOG-411 experience just got better: during your call to GOOG-411, just say “map it”, and you’ll get a text message with the details of your search plus a link to a map of your results right on your mobile phone.

I tried the service with two business in my area. As soon as you call, the automated voice prompts inform you that it’s “Goog 411 Experimental”. Not surprising, given that virtually everything Google does is Beta.

First, I tried getting directions and a map to where I work. I was informed that the map was unavailable, but it did send me all the contact info and offer to connect me for free.

The second business I tried was the local Target. It found that too with no problem, but apparently I’m too technically inept to figure out how to visit the link on my phone. A cell data plan may be required to take full advantage of the service. I’ll chalk this one up to “user error” though and give Google the benefit of the doubt.

All in all, it’s a pretty nice way to get around paying $0.99 or so for 411 calls. I can’t remember the last time I called 411 for anything, but given that this is free, it’s a cool fall back if you happen to be traveling and haven’t a clue how to get where you’re going.

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