Next month, Google will be shutting down GOOG-411, its very first search-by-voice application.
There’s no official announcement on why the service is being axed, but it has certainly helped provide groundwork for more advanced services now available on smartphones, such as:
- Voice Search – search Google by speaking instead of typing.
- Voice Input – fill in any text field on Android by speaking instead of typing.
- Voice Actions – control your Android phone with voice commands. For example, you can call any business quickly and easily just by saying its name.
Back in 2007 (when GOOG-411 was launched) the search phone scene was very different than it does today and iphones were months away from being a reality.
This is where GOOG-411 came in to the picture. Conducting mobile phone searches were a big task and not many had access to the phones so the GOOG-411 service allowed users to say the name of a business and have the service text you back a listing for that business with address and phone number. Since then, Google has been advancing their speech recognition technology and its use in modern smartphones. The introduction of smartphones (and its instant internet access) has made the GOOG-411 redundant.
Google does understand that not everyone has an iphone or Blackberry (actually only 17% of Americans do) so you will still be able to get information from Google by texting “GOOGLE (466453).”
The decision taken by Google has left many GOOG-411 loyal users very upset about it. But Google is hoping its users move over to the newer services on the smart phones, such as Android and iPhones. Apart from this, one still has the option of using the SMS search service by Google.
Many large tele-companies still provide traditional, paid 411 services in the US such as Jingle (800-Free-411), AT&T’s 1-800-YellowPages and Verizon’s 1-800-THE-INFO. Even Bing has a 411 offering (Bing 411) and it is thought to be the best.
One factor that would have played into the demise of GOOG-411 is that the calls aren’t free. Consumers normally pay around $1.75 per call.
While, Google’s exit will create a void in the market, it is something that Bing 411 will fill.