Leave it to Google to take another existing product, make it better, than give it away for free. This month Google launched a new service called Goog-411, that is basically a 411 information service that is free, and does limit you to only searches where you know the actual business you are looking for.
According to TechCrunch, there are 2.6 billion 411 calls made every year, costing consumers about $7Billion in fees. This has got to cause concern for those big phone companies, but that’s what Google’s all about. They took over search from Netscape and Yahoo, they are creating free business apps to take away Microsoft’s monopoly, they are taking away the ad spend from newspapers and everyone else, and now they’re taking away the 411 fees from phone companies.
Call the system and choose between a name or a category. You can search for a specific name of a business or you can search for a category, such as “restaurant” or “real estate”. The system will give you it’s top eight results and connect you to the business and send you a text message of the info- all for free.
What really sets this apart from the traditional 411 service (other than being free) is the ability to search by category. If you’re out of town and wondering where to go for a bite to eat, or to get a drink, the system can give you some ideas.
Here are some results I received from a few searches I did to test out the system… with each search I selected “Salt Lake City, Utah” as the city and state;
Searching for “restaurants” the top results were two hotel restaurants at the Marriott and Hilton (bad choices), then Market Street Grill (great), Squatters Pub (good), Metropolitan (good), Bambara (good), The Melting Pot (good), and Stone Ground Restaurant (never been).
Searching for “gas station” it gives me six different 7-11 stations, Maverik on 200 West, and a Sinclair on South Temple. Interesting that 7-11 comes in so strong. Probably because of so many locations.
Searching for “movies” it says, Brewvies (great choice), Clark Planetarium (wtf?), Broadway Century Cinemas (good), Tower Theatre (good), Gateway Megaplex (great), Salt Lake City Film Center (hmm), Century 16 on 3300 south (great), Redwood Drive-In Theatre (great).
Searching for “real estate” the system first offered me government divisions, then went into property management and some small ma’ and pa’ shop offices. They obviously need work with that category.
Searching for “bars” it recommends- Squatters (okay as a bar) (good), Red Rock Brewery, Benihana (wtf?), Green Street (good), O’ Shucks (good), Jr’s Tavern (never been), Dead Goat Saloon (good), and Club Sound (never been). This category could use a make-over.
Searching for “club” it recommends- Port O’ Call (great), Manhattan Club (good), Red Door (great), Green Street (good), Monks House of Jazz (good), Area 51 (good), WiseGuys Comedy Club (good), but #8 was Special Olympics Utah?
It’s free so give it a try, just dial (800)GOOG-411, or (800)466-4411.
If your business is not listed and you’d like to list it, just fill out the quick registration.