Google is known for all the amazing things they create, and rarely for services they shut down. But in just days - days! they will stop offering one of my favorite services for someone on the road as I am - the GOOG-411 service. This service has helped road warriors everywhere - in an efficient way.
Reported by Alex Sharp of Suite 101, Google posted in October that they would end this 411 phone service on November 11th. This is the service I got all of my small business owners attending my social media classes to get onto - some really WERE still using a phone book - and showing them how great (most of the time) the Google system worked. Oh, it had flaws. When I was on the road I'd try to find a phone number this way. Once you realize that it didn't understand what you were saying - well, I'd go to the tiny web browser on my iPhone and search for company information that way.
Did you know about this 3 year-old service of Google's? I had the phone number, 1-800GOOG411 saved in my smart phone. It was a free call to Google's supercomputer that took the place of the very expensive 411 calls I typically still made a couple years back. Through speech-recognition it would connect me to most often, the right information - but not always.
Sharp says in her post, "According to the Goog-411 team's blog post, the company is 'putting all of our resources into speech-enabling the next generation of Google products and services,' which suggests that the resources used by GOOG411 will be reallocated"
I feel like I am going to be losing a road companion - something I could (nearly) always count on - so it is heartwarming to me to hear that Microsoft's Bing smartphone location-aware App does voice searches - which I did not even know about. I have the Bing App downloaded - just didn't use it. I tried it just now - there is a microphone to push and then you say what it is you are wanting to find. Bing pulled it up - both times. If this sounds basic and simplistic - know how many people out there do not know some of these tricks and tools.
Oh, and Google continues to offer text-based searches to help you track down information - another great option. I think i will be OK on the road now - as long as I have a few of my favorite tech tools to support me.
What technology tools do you like / appreciate / use? Post your ideas - they may help others be more effective and efficient.