You may not remember it but Google offers free directory assistance with its Goog-411 offering but the search giant said it is hanging up on the service to focus on voice recognition technology for Android.
In a blog post, the company said that Goog-411 will shut down on November 12 of this year.
Our success encouraged us to aim for more innovation. Thus, we’re putting all of our resources into speech-enabling the next generation of Google products and services across a multitude of languages.
You’re not out of luck if you want Goog-411 type services and you don’ have a smartphone, as you’ll still be able to text the name of a business to “466453” and have Google text you contact information.
Goog-411 was a nice attempt to gain some traction in the potentially lucrative voice searching market. Google doesn’t like to talk about it but there is a wealth of data in understanding voice commands – one could potentially deduce the gender, age and other demographic information from an accurate breakdown of someone’s voice. Google loves that type of information because it enables it to target its ads more accurately.
The voice products on Android are pretty fantastic. The voice-to-text features on Android 2.1 work well and the Google Voice Action app lets you control your phone easily with your voice.
Voice interaction is going to play a large role in the future smartphone battles and company are already loading up. Apple purchased the voice concierge app Siri for about $200 million and we expect deeper voice controls to be in the next version of the iOS software.
Microsoft is about to unveil its Windows Phone 7 platform and the company is saying that it will have industry-leading speech software.
Even third-parties like Vlingo are doing some interesting stuff with speech-recognition and I wouldn’t be too surprised to see that company get purchased by a major handset manufacturer in the not-too-distant future.