As local search continues to gain momentum, Google’s new local search experiment could be the most significant enhancement to date. GOOG-411, is a voice based directory service, which allows users to search Google’s local listings via the phone.
Google Voice Local Search allows fast access to the same information available through Google Maps, but without the need for a computer, and better still – the service is free!
According to the service page, some of the features include:
You can find a business listing by category. Just say “pizza,” for example.
You can send the listing details to your mobile phone via SMS.
The service is fully automated, so it doesn’t rely on human operators.
It connects you directly to the business, free of charge. However, your telephone company may apply regular charges for making a phone call or receiving an SMS.
The new local search service really reinforces the importance of local search listings for big and small businesses alike. Whether this experiment works or not, surely a similar local search via the phone service will be launched soon enough, especially considering Microsoft’s recent acquisition of TellMe.
The Local Search service comes with the following disclaimer during its experimental phase:
Google Voice Local Search is still in its experimental stage. It may not be
available at all times and may not work for all users. We’re fine-tuning the
service to get better at recognizing our user’s requests and at finding the
businesses they are looking for. It’s currently only available in English, in
the US, for US business listings.
I haven’t had the opportunity to trial the service at the time of posting, so if you give it a go, share your feedback via our comments.