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Google To Shut Down 411 Service

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the guess-we're-back-to-calling-the-ghostbusters dept.

Google 156

taco8982 writes "After three years of providing free directory assistance in exchange for voice samples, Google has announced plans to shut down the GOOG-411 service, in order to focus on 'speech-enabling the next generation of Google products and services across a multitude of languages.' The service will close on November 12th."

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what? (4, Insightful)

bhcompy (1877290) | about 4 years ago | (#33840976)

Never even heard of it. I wonder how many dozens of obscure Google services there are out there

Re:what? (5, Funny)

ajrs (186276) | about 4 years ago | (#33841000)

Never even heard of it. I wonder how many dozens of obscure Google services there are out there

If only there were some automated tool to find them all. A search engine, if you will....

Re:what? (5, Informative)

odies (1869886) | about 4 years ago | (#33841074)

Or a single page that lists them all [wikimedia.org] .

Re:what? (4, Informative)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 4 years ago | (#33841488)

Or even something... authoritative.

http://www.googlelabs.com/ [googlelabs.com]

Re:what? (1)

severoon (536737) | about 4 years ago | (#33841522)

This is the best thread ever. =]

Re:what? (2, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 4 years ago | (#33841008)

Ahhh, this the worst thing since they shutdown GOOG-976!

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33841196)

Completely agree! I have this as a favorite number on my iPhone, I sure hope they bring it back in some capacity.

Re:what? (3, Informative)

Donniedarkness (895066) | about 4 years ago | (#33841012)

I had actually started using it last month. It's amazingly useful. RIP :(

Re:what? (4, Interesting)

bev_tech_rob (313485) | about 4 years ago | (#33841616)

Agreed! I used it alot instead of shelling out $1.50 for 411 calls via Verizon..... crap....

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33841966)

Yeah that's disappointing my phone company also overcharges for this crap and I won't pay for it. My phone internet is also $1.50 a megabyte (talk about unrealistic) so it's really not worth using google on the phone now period I guess.

Re:what? (1)

HermMunster (972336) | about 4 years ago | (#33842608)

I've known about it for a couple years. Never used it. Never really thought about it because I always used the web based yellow/white pages.

Re:what? (1)

treeves (963993) | about 4 years ago | (#33842384)

My wife and I have been using for quite some time. Can't remember where I learned about it, but it's quite handy, and we'll miss it. Thing is, you can find stuff with it while you're driving, and there's no replacement for that, except now she'll probably call me and ask me to google stuff more often while she's driving.

Re:what? (1)

OnlineAlias (828288) | about 4 years ago | (#33842400)

I've used it for months (years?). A killer pro tip was to put it on bluetooth dial in your car. Then you could just say "call Google" and then it was all voice commands to connect to anyone. Truly awesome...

Re:what? (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 4 years ago | (#33841042)

I have, it was actually a pretty cool service. Given the way it was setup, it even enable free long distance/payphone calling. You'd call 800-GOOG411 and explain who/what you were looking for. It'd then connect you.

Re:what? (1)

carlzum (832868) | about 4 years ago | (#33841644)

Yeah, it is a great service. It's one of the only automated attendant experiences that I preferred over a human operator. Every time I suffer through a clunky, annoying IVR when I call my bank or cable company, I wonder why they can't do it as well as Google's free service. Maybe the answer is, Google blew a lot of money on it and couldn't (or didn't want to) sustain it any longer.

Re:what? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about 4 years ago | (#33841826)

No, Google blew a lot of money on it to gather lots of real voice samples.

They've got them now, so now they have other plans.

Re:what? (1)

carlzum (832868) | about 4 years ago | (#33841910)

I'm OK with that if it means I'll never look like a lunatic yelling at my phone in public again.

Residential
Res-i-den-tial
Res-i-den-ti-al
RES-I-DEN-TIAL
RESIDENTIAL!!! I live in a fucking house!!!
OPERATOR! OPERATOR! NO! YES! NO! NNN-OOO!
Arrrrrggg!!!

Re:what? (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 4 years ago | (#33842092)

Until you complain about google in public and the google web spiders find it.

Then you'll be connected Bing Phone instead.

Re:what? (1)

BlitzTech (1386589) | about 4 years ago | (#33842108)

Thanks for the nightmares, jerk!

Re:what? (0, Redundant)

AhabTheArab (798575) | about 4 years ago | (#33841152)

Seems that the people who knew about it and used it actually liked the service. I used to use it, particularly when driving cross country. It was very handy to be able to find a motel in an upcoming city and be connected so I could make reservations. Texting while driving is becoming illegal in many states. Also, voice service is more reliable than data service in many parts of the country.

I haven't used GOOG-411 for quite some time, but it was nice to have available as on option. All in all, not too big of a loss I suppose.

Re:what? (1)

ocdude (932504) | about 4 years ago | (#33841646)

http://www.google.com/newproducts/ [google.com] has a list of all of the google products out there, and even lets you filter by area of interest or search.

Re:what? (1)

ajs (35943) | about 4 years ago | (#33841668)

There are a ton of Google services. I think the ones that would
surprise most people are:

Then of course, there's their non-Web site features. For example,
they have a VC group called Google Ventures; a whole series of public
policy and government-related initiatives such as their work with enabling [blogspot.com]
public Q&A and CitizenTube [citizentube.com] , YouTube's public
policy blog about "developing trends in the use of YouTube by news
organizations, activists, politicians, and governments."

They're also a major developer of FOSS. Sometimes this takes the form
of giant systems like Android or Chromium, but just as often, it's
little things like their new Image format, WEBP (my [ajs.com]
analysis of WEBP for screenshots, here).

Google does so much that they really do have to mercilessly kill
things like Wave and GOOG-411 when their either outlive their planned
purpose (like the latter) or don't achieve critical mass (like the
former). Otherwise they'd be buried under an avalanche of
half-finished products.

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33841746)

Funny; the first I heard of it was when my wife used it yesterday. Now I find it is shutting down and it has been out there for three years and I never even knew it.

Re:what? (1)

cababunga (1195153) | about 4 years ago | (#33842088)

You can google all Google services at google.com.

Re:what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33842634)

I use it all the time, especially while traveling. I'm too cheap to shell out the cash for a web-enabled smartphone (and the even more expensive data-plan). It has helped me out numerous times.

Bummer!

Re:what? (1)

Jimmy King (828214) | about 4 years ago | (#33842756)

I've actually got a landline phone with a Goog-411 button on it that dials it. I've never used it, though. I might have to use it before it goes away just to check it out.

GOOG-411 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33840988)

San Francisco! GOOG-411?

Smartphones (4, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 4 years ago | (#33841014)

It seems like smartphones are making voice calls obsolete. GOOG-411 is a victim of http://www.google.com/ [google.com]

Re:Smartphones (4, Interesting)

Yocto Yotta (840665) | about 4 years ago | (#33841252)

Hardly. When driving, I'd use voice activation to dial GOOG411 and be able to connect to any publicly listed number I desire without laying another finger on my phone. That's all sorts of awesome I can't do any other way right now. Well, for free anyhow.

Re:Smartphones (2, Interesting)

GweeDo (127172) | about 4 years ago | (#33841678)

It is far more a victim of Google Voice Search on Android 2.2. The fact that I can say to my phone "Call Linex in Olathe, KS" and three seconds later it is dialing is simply to fantastic. The GOOG411 experiment gave them the testing they needed to make it a full fledge smartphone service that is only a small part of Voice Search.

Sad day (5, Insightful)

AaxelB (1034884) | about 4 years ago | (#33841020)

I for one am sad about this. I'm one of those holdouts who still doesn't have a (i|g|smart)phone, so it was nice to be able to call Google up to contact the restaurant I want to get reservations at, or anything like that. I can understand why they canceled it (they get way more voice data from Google Voice, I'm sure), but still, I'm a bit sad.

Maybe I'll finally get a more intelligent phone now...

Re:Sad day (4, Informative)

Anti_Climax (447121) | about 4 years ago | (#33841054)

Just SMS the name of the business to 46645 (googl) with your non-smart phone and get similar results messaged back

Re:Sad day (5, Insightful)

IronChef (164482) | about 4 years ago | (#33841180)

Texting is expensive and not a good idea while driving. I'll also really miss GOOG-411, with which I could search for a listing and get connected all over the handsfree.

Re:Sad day (1)

DeathFromSomewhere (940915) | about 4 years ago | (#33841202)

Texting is ... not a good idea while driving.

But dialing a phone and talking on it is?

Re:Sad day (3, Informative)

demonlapin (527802) | about 4 years ago | (#33841364)

On my last non-smart phone, a Moto RAZR, you could press one button to activate voice dialing. Press that, say "Google", let it connect. Talk over hands-free Bluetooth. It was less distracting than changing the radio.

Re:Sad day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33841384)

You can dial and talk with only hitting a single button, often on your steeringwheel if your car has bluetooth.

Texting isn't that easy

Re:Sad day (1)

icebraining (1313345) | about 4 years ago | (#33841386)

With a cheap Nokia you could do that by pressing a single button - the speech recognition for dialing was pretty decent even on those older phones (although you had to pre-record it).
Nowadays I never take my phone out of my pocket to dial. I just press the button on my headset and say the contact's name.

Re:Sad day (3, Interesting)

datapharmer (1099455) | about 4 years ago | (#33841200)

unless you have tmobile prepaid or another carrier that blocks this so they can charge for 411.

Re:Sad day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33841828)

unless you have tmobile prepaid or another carrier that blocks this so they can charge for 411.

I'm on T-Mobile Prepaid, and I receive 46645 (GOOGL) text just fine.

Re:Sad day (1)

kdawgud (915237) | about 4 years ago | (#33842100)

I don't think tmobile prepaid blocks this anymore, actually.

Re:Sad day (1)

imthesponge (621107) | about 4 years ago | (#33842514)

It wasn't specifically blocking this service. I don't think any shortcodes worked.

Re:Sad day (1)

DingoTango (623217) | about 4 years ago | (#33841100)

I agree. This was very useful, esp. when driving or otherwise unable to browse. Going to miss it.

Re:Sad day (1)

lushmore (41101) | about 4 years ago | (#33841328)

I have a smartphone, but what I loved about Google 411 is with my in-car bluetooth it only took a button push on my steering wheel plus some voice commands to call any business, all while my phone is still in my pocket.

Re:Sad day (4, Informative)

rm999 (775449) | about 4 years ago | (#33841392)

You can thank competition: http://www.discoverbing.com/mobile/411/ [discoverbing.com]

OTOH, msft copied Google on this one. Does that mean they will copy Google on discontinuing the service? ;)

Re:Sad day (4, Funny)

benedict (9959) | about 4 years ago | (#33841554)

"Disco verbing"? What the hell is disco verbing?

Re:Sad day (1)

darth dickinson (169021) | about 4 years ago | (#33841690)

I guess it's kinda like Schoolhouse Rock.

Re:Sad day (3, Funny)

tool462 (677306) | about 4 years ago | (#33841872)

It's what you do the night after your expert sexchange.

Re:Sad day (1)

6Yankee (597075) | about 4 years ago | (#33842054)

Verbing adds weirdage.

Re:Sad day (1)

bev_tech_rob (313485) | about 4 years ago | (#33841680)

I hadn't heard of this one! Great find! I don't feel so bad after all about losing Goog 411...

Re:Sad day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33841818)

Microsoft bought Tell Me [tellme.com] which predated GOOG 411

Re:Sad day (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33842584)

Probably, since they discontinued backwards compatibility on the XBox360 right after Sony decided to stop putting the PS2 chips in the PS3.

Nuance and IBM (2, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 4 years ago | (#33841028)

Nuance and IBM hold so many patents in the voice recognition field it's not even funny. With MS suing Android for things as innocuous as "syncing", I wonder what, if anything, Google is doing to protect or aid handset makers from this type of litigation. As I mentioned before in a previous post, a simple list showing all applicable patents and necessary licenses would help give a heads up to Android device makers.

Re:Nuance and IBM (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | about 4 years ago | (#33841496)

With MS suing Android for things as innocuous as "syncing"...

No, MS is suing Motorola. Within that suit are listed patents that may or may not apply to other Android implementations. Which may or may not mean Google has the information to make such a simple list.

Re:Nuance and IBM (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 4 years ago | (#33841840)

You're right. Moto, not Android. My typing got ahead of me.

The problem still is that Android is getting all these cool features, but it seems to be up to the OEM itself to determine what, if any, licenses need to be licensed. As much as I dislike Microsoft and think that their "indemnification" sales pitch is a load of crap, seeing them going after Moto is a bit disconcerting.

Re:Nuance and IBM (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | about 4 years ago | (#33842754)

As much as I dislike Microsoft and think that their "indemnification" sales pitch is a load of crap, seeing them going after Moto is a bit disconcerting.

The big question is why Motorola? Why not Google? I know Motorola implemented some of their own code in their products. For example, when I got my Droid, I could sync the corporate Exchange server out of the box. I had a separate email and calendar app for Exchange than Google email and calendaring. My co-workers (G1 and a Nexus One after seeing us enjoy our phones) bought 3rd party apps. So while the lawsuit is naming the Droid2, I have to wonder if it's something Motorola's done with their devices that makes them a target.

Of course, Motorola isn't the first. HTC came under Microsoft's guns. And the lawsuit includes filesystem compatability components. So while this particular patent might be custom-made for Motorola, it could also be just another stage in Microsoft's larger strategy.

Actually... (1)

ForeverOrangeCat (1430461) | about 4 years ago | (#33841034)

Used to use this all the time before I got my android. Sure kept my crappy LG phone somewhat relevant.

Re:Actually... (3, Insightful)

JSBiff (87824) | about 4 years ago | (#33841176)

Yeah, if you have an Android phone, Goog-411 becomes kind of redundant, as the phone has built-in voice search from Google - one touch on the icon, then speak what I want, and up it pops in the built-in browser. Can even use the maps feature to locate what you want at a convenient location without having to actually know where such-and-such street is (that is, Goog - 411 would give you a list of results, with addresses, but what if you don't already know where all those addresses are? Sure nice to see them on a map).

However, not everyone has a smart phone, and it really is a shame that the service will no longer be available for them - I used to use Goog-411 pretty frequently before getting my G1. I'm afraid just not enough people knew about Goog-411. Or perhaps they were happy with the number of users, but just decided it cost too much and as a company, didn't provide any revenue. "Free" things don't usually seem to last forever - you need *some* kind of revenue to support any service, no matter how cheap it is to provide it to the customers. Since they didn't make you listen to an ad, there was no apparent revenue stream (well, sometimes I do remember hearing something like this service brought to you by broadband.com, or something like that, so perhaps they got a little revenue from that).

Re:Actually... (1)

ForeverOrangeCat (1430461) | about 4 years ago | (#33841224)

Yeah, there are other similar services out there but you have to sit through an add or a couple of adds. That and the voice recognition is not nearly as good, and often the results are bunk.

Re:Actually... (1)

Yocto Yotta (840665) | about 4 years ago | (#33841380)

Yeah, I hate being forced to listen to two numbers being summed before I can place my stupid call. RIP GOOG411, they always had the decency to subtract.

Re:Actually... (1)

ForeverOrangeCat (1430461) | about 4 years ago | (#33841414)

oh damnit...

Re:Actually... (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 4 years ago | (#33841236)

It was a fairly inexpensive way to collect a LOT of voices saying things over and over again. That was the payoff.

Sad Day! (5, Informative)

odin84gk (1162545) | about 4 years ago | (#33841046)

Goog411 was amazing! No ads, good results. Thankfully I have a smartphone, but there were still times that Goog411 was faster than using my smartphone.

I guess I will go back to 1-800-Free411

Re:Sad Day! (5, Insightful)

ReallyEvilCanine (991886) | about 4 years ago | (#33841290)

It was free because they spent money to provide you a service in exchange for the voice clip they got from you. When you get stuff for free, it's not because you're the customer; you're the product.

Re:Sad Day! (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 4 years ago | (#33842118)

They were buying voice clips and paying in service.

Re:Sad Day! (0, Offtopic)

Smidge207 (1278042) | about 4 years ago | (#33841400)

The Bible has six unique things about it that provide proof that it came from God.

1.) It's a unique book - It's the most widely distributed book in history. The Bible has been printed at least 4.7 BILLION times, in more than 2,400 languages. The Bible has endured bans and attacks from opposers.

2.) It is historically sound - People who are named in the Bible have been found to exist. Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Judea - his name was found on a stone in Caesarea in 1961. Events that happened in the Bible are proven to have happened. The account of Edom and Israel battling was one such event that proved to be true.

3.) Candor and honesty - Not only are their achievements recorded, but the people of the Bible also recorded their shortcomings and errors. Moses told of a mistake he made, Jonah made a big mistake and landed in the belly of a fish. Even the Apostle Paul humbly admitted that he made mistakes.

4.) Internal Harmony - There were 40 men who wrote the Bible in the span of some 1,600 years. And yet, they wrote about the same theme - a harmonious message - God's Kingdom. From Genesis to Revelation, this theme can be found.

5.) Scientific Accuracy - People used to believe that the earth was flat, but the Bible told that it was round. (Isaiah 40:22) People believed that the earth was held up in th universe by a giant animal, the Bible told that it hung on nothing. (Job 26:7)

6.) Fulfilled Prophesy - Bible predictions are usually precise and have been fulfilled down to the last detail. Consider as an example - Isaiah prophesied that Babylon would fall, that the leader "Cyrus" would be the conqueror, and that the river Euphrates would dry up. Two hundred years later, the prophesies all came true as confirmed by historian Herodotus of the 5th century.

Re:Sad Day! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33841784)

You forgot the part where Creationists say the Earth is only 6,000 years old and science flatly proves that wrong. And also - So what. Was is your point exactly? The Bible has also gotten more people killed than any other book in history. I don't see you bringing that little point up either.

Re:Sad Day! (1)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about 4 years ago | (#33841732)

I am an immigrant, with an obscure accent, and it always worked perfectly for me. A great service, that will be sorely missed.

Please reconsider, Mr G!

Re:Sad Day! (1)

ubercow (700232) | about 4 years ago | (#33842020)

Tried it a few times and this service was pretty useless in Hawaii. Goog-411 had issues with local city, business, and non-american restaurant names - not to mention the free entertainment you give to friends and passers-by when you intentionally butcher the pronunciation of places in an attempt to get the computer to recognize what you're saying on the second pass.

read the blog! (1, Redundant)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | about 4 years ago | (#33841058)

The blog says now all you need to do is send a txt message to 466453 (google) with name and city and state.

It's easier that way, at least with a cell phone.

Re:read the blog! (1, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | about 4 years ago | (#33841266)

That's great, if you have 1) a cell phone 2) with a texting plan, and 3) you aren't driving. Cell phones don't always get reception, texting a la carte is expensive, and even where it's legal you shouldn't do it on the road.

Oh, I'm gonna catch hell from my wife. (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 4 years ago | (#33841538)

Exactly. My wife uses GOOG411 all the time while driving. She thinks phone books and address books are obsolete. She's quite verbal and likes small flip phones, so no keyboard or smartphone.

Given her tendency to use $1.29/call 411 services before GOOG411, I think Google ought to target people like me with $5/mo plans.

Re:read the blog! (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 4 years ago | (#33841296)

i used google sms for years on my old nokia 1100, it easilly outperformed smartphones from a couple years ago

NOOOOOO........ (1)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | about 4 years ago | (#33841066)

I love Goog-411. I use it at least once a week. While it may be flaky on the voice recognition more than I'd like, it's usually pretty good.

Cordless Phones (1)

epedersen (863120) | about 4 years ago | (#33841088)

I wonder if there is a way to reprogram the Goog-411 buttons on the cordless phones that have them, such as this http://www.buy.com/prod/thomson-28811fe2-premiere-goog-411-dect-6-0-cordless-phone-1-x-phone/q/sellerid/22539552/loc/111/207514570.html [buy.com] one.

Re:Cordless Phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33841332)

wow, that's hilarious!

DECT considered harmful. . . (1)

JSBiff (87824) | about 4 years ago | (#33841760)

I was in a store recently, and my eye caught a cheap DECT phone, and I was thinking of buying it, but decided I should research DECT first. Turns out it has weak encryption which has already been broken. So, you should just throw that phone away anyhow. *grin* Well, at least, don't use it for any sensitive communications.

Unforunately, GSM was recently 'broken' too, so there doesn't seem to be too much left in the way of secure wireless comms - maybe some sort of VoIP with TLS or AES crypto or something (seems like I remember hearing about a VoIP encapsulation scheme based on OpenPGP - I'll have to look into that.

Still, the consumer electronics industry needs to really update their encryption standards.

NO!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33841106)

Goog-411 was something that I really enjoyed using and pretty frequently mind you. As long as you don't use speaker-phone (which it will hear itself talking) it was flawless at understanding me no matter how fast I would talk. Don't die Goog-411!! ;_;

I only tried it once (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33841170)

but, it worked wonderfully.

Irony.. (1)

SixDimensionalArray (604334) | about 4 years ago | (#33841194)

Just got a Droid 2 and was transferring my old phone numbers over. I had just transferred the Google 411 number, and then jumped on Slashdot and determined I shouldn't bother!

It was nice to have, even though I suppose it's not as necessary with a smartphone. Still, cheaper than calling 411 on my carrier!

So long and thanks for all the fish!

6d

Almost as obscure as (2, Funny)

assemblerex (1275164) | about 4 years ago | (#33841198)

Goog-8675309

Re:Almost as obscure as (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33841240)

Damn you Tommy Tutone.

Awwww! (1)

peacefinder (469349) | about 4 years ago | (#33841230)

That service was really nifty, especially inthe days of dumb phones. Oh, well. It'll be missed.

Re:Awwww! (1)

enjerth (892959) | about 4 years ago | (#33841352)

I still have a dumb phone, you insensitive clod!

Re:Awwww! (2, Funny)

peacefinder (469349) | about 4 years ago | (#33841498)

I guess you're REALLY gonna miss it then. :-p

oh hell no (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33841258)

noooooooooooooo! i love this service! =[ damn you, google. whyyy? goog-411 was THE SHIT.

Bing 411 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33841262)

Microsoft still is in the 411 game with Bing 411. Link [discoverbing.com]

1-800-Bing-411
(1-800-246-4411)

Re:Bing 411 (2, Informative)

amliebsch (724858) | about 4 years ago | (#33841362)

I just confirmed Microsoft's original 1-800-CALL411 number works as well. If you used the Google service, this is a decent alternative.

Re:Bing 411 (1)

Barbarian (9467) | about 4 years ago | (#33841866)

Works well unless you're in Canada. Then any city in Alberta is "Calgary, is that right?" and any city in Ontario is "Toronto, is that right?"

Use it all the time (3, Informative)

gregraven (574513) | about 4 years ago | (#33841326)

I had a bad feeling about Google 411. It used to be one of the options when you called your own Google Voice account -- you pressed 2 to find the number you wanted. Then Google deleted it out of Google Voice without any notification that I ever saw. I use it all the time with my old "dumb" cell phone. It's a great service, and I'll be sad to see it go.

Huh. (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 4 years ago | (#33841450)

The service stopped working for me a couple months ago.

Things just got more complicated (3, Interesting)

BcNexus (826974) | about 4 years ago | (#33841604)

In other words, google is making it a lot more complicated and inconvenient. My current WinMo phone does this better. Let's compare.

Currently, if I want to reach a company, I use one type of interaction: voice interaction. It goes like this:
1. I tell my phone, "Call GOOG 411." My phone asks me if I want to call "GOOG 411" or whatever and gives me a chance to confirm or correct myself.
2. I ask GOOG 411 for "Company X, Anytown USA"
3. I listen to the results. Google gives me a chance to verify them and correct myself.
4. I say which result I want. Google calls the business for me.
All that without taking my eyes off of what I'm doing (walking, driving, doing the dishes, taking out the trash).

Soon, when I want to reach a company, I'll have to do a more complicated routine:
1. Launch Voice Search (VS for short).
2. Ask for "Company X, Anytown USA."
3. Voice Search terminates.
4. To review the results on the screen, I have to take my eyes off what I am doing.
5. If they're incorrect, I'm out of luck. My current VS session has ended and I need to start over.
6. Assuming I found what I wanted, I try to remember the phone number of the business I want to reach.
7. I launch Voice Actions (VA for short).
8. I tell Voice Actions to dial the ten digit number I've hopefully remembered.
9. VA doesn't ask me if it understood me correctly. I watch the screen to see if has. If VA got it wrong, I have to launch VA again.

This is ridiculous. Notice how Google has made me take twice as many steps to reach a business. Notice how Google is forcing me to mix three types of interaction: -Voice interaction to initiate search and make the call
-Screen viewing to check the results
-Touch interaction to scroll through the results

What a step back in functionality this is! I hope Google is paying attention and fixes this. Until they do, I have good reason to stick with my WinMo phone. It does hands-free stuff better.

Re:Things just got more complicated (4, Interesting)

Asdanf (1281936) | about 4 years ago | (#33842680)

Actually on Android the current flow is
1. Hold down search button.
2. Say "Call Company X, Anytown USA"

So, they halved the number of steps required and removed the listening requirement.

Too bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33841716)

I was a big fan of GOOG-411. I can't say I used it very much, but comparing it against 411, it won hands down, especially on the price aspect.

Shame to see it go... (1)

Barbarian (9467) | about 4 years ago | (#33841724)

Now that google has got all the free data they need, they can shut down the service and encourage people to buy more smartphones. It's really a shame, but not unexpected from any company; I was hoping for better from google.

Figures, just after I convinced my father to stop using the telco 411 (and paying the $$$) and to use GOOG-411.

Hey Google? (1)

Seraphim_72 (622457) | about 4 years ago | (#33841942)

What do you think about open sourcing that voice recognition software? Goodness know OS needs it.

Re:Hey Google? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 4 years ago | (#33842150)

> What do you think about open sourcing that voice recognition software?

Who is going to pay the patent royalties?

Used it for customers (1)

adairw (1338775) | about 4 years ago | (#33842006)

I set it up on customers phone systems when they didn't want to pay for real 411 service. Dialing 411 or any other such directory assistance number would actually dial the 1800 number to google 411... oh well...

King of the Beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33842284)

Google is definitely "King of the Beta"

It was temporary (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | about 4 years ago | (#33842504)

I think what a lot of people are missing is that this was never intended to be a continuing or for-profit service for Google. They *only* set this service up to collect voice data to improve speech recognition.

Now that they have the data they needed, they're closing it down.

Sounds pretty crystal clear to me.

Nooooooo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33842550)

Nooooooo! I use this frequently. Come Nov., I'll have to give Bing a try.

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