As TechCrunch reported, Google just launched a free 411 product into Google labs. The new service can be reached at 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) from any phone. Unlike Free411, which already has over 6% market share, it is not currently ad supported. However, as the platform evolves, a pairing with Google’s on demand radio ad service seems sensible.
Google’s whole 411 service is automated. When trying it out, the voice recognition worked spot on, but TechCrunch had a different experience. The process of finding a business listing leads you through a funnel that asks for a city and state, business name or category, and street intersection or zip (optional). The service then lists off the top 8 results for the search. At any point you can request a listing by saying or typing the number. The system then connects you to the business unless you ask for more details (address and number), which it will repeat over the phone or send via SMS at your request.
Aside from Jingle, ATT is also experimenting with a 411 service, and Microsoft recently purchased TellMe, which not only answers 411 requests over the phone, but maps them along with driving directions and details on a companion mobile application. Here’s our previous coverage of TellMe.