Thursday, July 09, 2009

Haven't Used Google 411 Yet? You Should! Here's My First Attempt

I needed to get some information about a local area store because I wasn't sure of the location and didn't know the phone number. Having my handy dandy spiffy new iPhone, and having heard about how good the Google 411 system is, I decided to see how far this thing could take me. Here's what happened.

After dialing 1-800-GOOG-411 (that's 1-800-466-4411) from my iPhone, I was greeted by a pleasant male voice, no accent, very mid-West sounding. He asked for the city and state. I said them and he responded almost immediately by repeating what I'd said. Then he asked for the person or place I wanted. I said the business name, and pretty quickly he came back with a list of 8 numbered items. He told me that I could say the number of the item I wanted as he told me the info for each one. At the third one, I said "number three" and he said he would connect me. OR I could say "details" and he would read them to me. OR I could say "text message" and he'd send the info via text. I said "text message" and I swear before I could finish saying the phrase, the message appeared on my screen. The message showed me the company name, the address, the phone number, and a link to a map. Being the curious sort, I jumped right in and clicked the link to the map. The iPhone Maps app opened and showed me the location of the store. The location also happened to have Street View so I could look around to see where the store is located. I recognized the area and knew right away where it was.

I just can't say enough good things about this scenario. Within 2 minutes, not only did I have the information about the store that I needed, but I also had a map location of the store and was able to verify the store's location by actually looking around the neighborhood. And all of this happened from my desk! Oh and all of this is free. Wow, just wow.....

Now, there is a bit of a hitch in all this gushing, because I wanted to put the info into my Contacts list, but couldn't figure out how to get it easily out of the text message and into Contacts. What to do? I highlighted the message, did a copy, created a new contact, and pasted the info into the Notes section of the contact. Then I copied line-by-line from the Notes into the different fields of the contact. If there's an easier way, please jot it down in the comments -- it would be much appreciated!!

By the way, notice I've said "he" and not "it" throughout. My interaction with Google 411 was just natural back and forth and the voice was very real sounding (kinda scary if I stop to think about how natural and calm our future robotic overloads can sound). Maybe by calling this system "he" I'll be spared during the uprising..... (grin)

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