17
Oct
07

For What It’s Worth: GOOG-411

In support of Google’s efforts to take over the world, they’ve “graduated” 1-800-GOOG-411 from the labs. In theory, it’s a great idea, and I’ve seen other posts highlighting the new service. Perhaps I should have waited until I had more experience, but my first interaction was so frustrating.

I must note that the service offers the option of using your keyboard to tap in the name of what you’re looking for. However, I was driving at the time and figured talking on the phone was bad enough. Anyway, GOOG-411 got my city and state with no problems. Then came the name—Salon 720.

I tried pronouncing the name I don’t know how many ways. The results never even came close to the business name. Voice recognition systems seem to struggle with “sssss” sounds, and mine had two. I’ve noticed this issue in my parents’ OnStar system when voice dialing a number with sevens. However, I’d called AT&T’s information line the week before and had no problems with their voice recognition when I asked for the same listing. (You may be asking yourself, “Doesn’t she write anything down?” In answer, once again, I was driving at the time.)

Finally after five tries, I called regular information, got a human and was connected in under 20 seconds. So, for what it’s worth, try the free GOOG-411, but proceed cautiously if your desired listing contains “sssss.”

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