Free Mobile 411 Info (from Google)


Paul Kedrosky points to this free service from Google’s ever productive Google Labs.

 I went back and looked at my past mobile 411 calls — and they all have been looking for business #s (mostly restaurants, theaters, etc.). I am not sure I agree with Paul ("Google Just Killed the U.S. Directory Assistance Business"), because eventually they have to find a way to monetize this. 

I like Google’s commitment to giving a buncha smart people some time and resources to come up with new ideas. Not all will make it — in fact, most will fail. But I bet we see some big winners via the Labs eventually. Its decentralized decision making approach will be all the rage in 2012 . . .


In related Google news, It turns out that Viacom Videos were only 2% of YouTube views . . .
(Viacom disputes this data)

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. johntron commented on Apr 7

    It’s fairly evident that GOOG is aiming to have have real-time auctions for voice ads triggered by specific searches.

    Given the future ubiquity of GPS-enabled phones, there would be a market for geographically targeted ads.

    I wonder how big the market could be…too bad every companies can’t be run like GOOG.

  2. Winston Munn commented on Apr 7

    Reminds me of all the innovations that came out of Bell Labs during the good old days.

  3. Robert Coté commented on Apr 7

    Goggle monetizes first, rolls out second. Do you think you are getting the best restaurants, the theatres you actually asked for? No, you are getting those that paid the most. I just don’t understand the GOOG model long term. As soon as people catch on they have nothing of value and AFAICT there’s no way to protect their only asset; unsuspicious eyeballs.

  4. Barry Ritholtz commented on Apr 7

    Johntron, If I have to sit through a long ad prior to getting a phone number, I’d rather pay the 25 or 50 cents.

    Robert Cote, remember, I am asking for a specific business namer — La Ginestra, or Heirloom Restaurant — not just Restaurants in Locust Valley or Movie theaters in Manhattan

  5. Coruscation commented on Apr 7

    Listen to how the voice mangles local names such as Hauppauge.

    I think as more and more phones run useful web browsers,
    the utility of this service will decrease.

    In my bb8703e I can and click on a phone
    number to voice dial it.

  6. Damian commented on Apr 7

    Free 411 is a new idea? Not so – try 1-800-Free-411….was way ahead of Google.

  7. termite commented on Apr 8

    Google is trying to emulate M$FT by stealing others’ ideas, and then using sharp elbows to create a monopoly. When a Sam Zell buys the Tribune, Google may find itself paying for things that used to be free.

    Do you think that the telcos will also fight back?

  8. jswede commented on Apr 9

    I use Google TEXT info almost everyday. On Saturday, I was unsure of the exact address of the restaurant I was going to, so I texted “Saltaus in Chicago” to GOOGL, and 4 seconds later had the address and phone number on my blackberry. Click the number, and I’m connected. Useful for 411-type of info, but also much more – and quicker than going to the internet.

    It does plenty more – test it at:

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