As announced in October, Google shuttered its GOOG-411 service today. The free, voice-driven, directory assistance service emerged from Google Labs back in April 2007. Customers on a mobile phone could call 1-800-GOOG-411 and use their voice to easily find addresses, phone numbers, and more courtesy of Google.
Over the years, Google used this voice-based directory assistance service to refine its current voice search technology which is now present on its Android handsets. Google has integrated a nice voice-to-text feature that supplements the keyboard on its Android handset. It also recently introduced a Voice Search and actions application that lets you search and perform other voice-controlled actions on your Android phone.
With the loss of GOOG-411, several alternatives are already in place to fill that void. One of the oldest 411 services is FREE411 which has been around for five years. FREE411 works like Google’s 411 service and lets customers call into their directory assistance service via toll-free number (1-800-FREE411). The service is quite popular; it serves up over 1oo million requests each month and is the power behind ’s Boost Mobile and WalMart’s StraightTalk directory assistance services. Of course, there is also Bing-411, Microsoft’s Tellme-based competitor to GOOG-411, that still rocks on.
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