The many voices of Goog411, dude!

Audio recording of the many voices of Goog411Some seem to adore Goog-411 (like the folks at the Goog-411 Group), Google’s voice activated directory service that uses Map data and some like Chris from NaturalSearch panned it.I fall in between those extremes and while I understand Chris’s criticism about Goog-411’s failings I use the service on a somewhat regular basis despite its annoyances:

•It completes my calls thus offering hands free phone use

•It’s free

•It works more than 80% of the time

•It’s fun

It is fascinating to me to see Google’s Map data set being pushed out over a totally distinct network in a useful fashion although I doubt that the public will start using voice activated directory assistance for category searches in any great volume over the near term.

My usage habits are very entrenched in the city, business name model of directory assistance and I assume most consumers are as well. I suppose there is a certain cool factor that the service has and that the folks at the Goog-411 group go gaga over.Google seems to be making a bid to cater to that cool factor. They have recently changed their intro to the service which announces Goog-411 from a single male voice to a large variety of voices.

Some of them can be heard in the following compendium of voices recently recorded from dialing in to Goog 411:Audio recording of the many voices of Goog411

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
The many voices of Goog411, dude! by

6 thoughts on “The many voices of Goog411, dude!”

  1. “My usage habits are very entrenched in the city, business name model of directory assistance and I assume most consumers are as well.”

    I think you’re right that most consumers also have the same usage habits, which is why other free d.a. services are gaining traction even without all the Google bells and whistles. A name as simple and intuitive as 1-800-Free411, for example, taps directly into these usage habits — though that # works 100% of the time and offers residential and gov’t listings as well as business listings (you can’t say it’s just the name that’s made them successful). Ultimately, Goog-411 is going to have to charge for it or start placing ads, also, since they can’t rely on the company’s ad revenue forever.

  2. Hi Paul-

    Yes the fact that free411 offers residential etc is a critical feature going forward and some means of monetization will be necessary.

    That being said my experience with Free411 is that:
    1)Its recognition is even less successful with my voice than Google
    2)The ad delivery is extremely intrusive
    3)(and this is the reason I use Google) Call Completion is a critical mobile feature

    So for me the value of Goog-411 is enough to keep using despite its drawback but that was not the case for Free411. I had tried it and stopped using it.

    Clearly, for me, the ideal has not yet been reached but I find Google just good enough to not give up.

  3. I guess different people can have some drastically different experiences with these numbers. For anyone reading this conversation, I’d say the smart thing would be to try out both for yourself.

  4. Hi Paul

    I would suggest exactly the same. Any technology has to fit into a person’s life in a useful way.

    Going forward, the ideal solution, from my perspective would have attributes of both Google and Free411…it is still early in the game and adoption rates going forward will address the meat of the market. Who is to say whether it will be voice activated or more of an iPhone finger activated interface that ultimately ends up with greater market presence in this type of activity.

    From my point of view, none of the current crop provide a totally satisfactory experience. As you point out, each user needs to test them and see if there is place for them.

  5. Last time I called Free411 I was selected as “the winner of a cruise” to somewhere in the world only if I call this other 800 number … woohoo

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