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Google Voice Local Search

7:55 pm on Apr 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I couldn't resist testing Google's new Google Voice Local Search (GVLS), although it doesn't involve either booting up my PC or connecting to the Internet. As a result, it feels a bit strange, since Google is a name one normally associates with bits and bytes.

GVLS is a new free phone information service, currently only for business listings, that offers an alternative to the phone companies' not-free 411 services. You call 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) and according to Google, if the business is part of the Google Maps database, you should be able to get connected.

It's an interesting experience. When you call, you get a cheery male voice that announces "GOOG-411 Experimental," and asks you for your city and state. Once, that's been established, you're invited to tell it either a business name or category. If there's only a single listing available, it offers to connect you; if more than one, you get a numbered list to choose from.

Google Voice Local Search [informationweek.com]


7:57 pm on Apr 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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i just tried it for my hometown which is a pretty small midwest town, and it worked like a charm. pretty impressive. All it needs to do is email a map or link to a map to my gmail account. Then using the gmail and google maps apps for my cellphone i could get on the fly directions to places when im out of town, without typing all the info in on a cellphone which im just too old to get the hang of enough to do with any sort of speed lol...
8:12 pm on Apr 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I tried it about five times yesterday and only got it to recognize my town once. The rest of the time it put me in a town about two hours away, which doesn't sound like my town at all and even has an extra syllable. (Yes, I was speaking clearly! ;) )

They really ought to add a "Is this correct?" option instead of making you call back when they guess wrong. I doubt I'll be using this much for awhile.

9:29 pm on Apr 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I doubt I'll be using this much for awhile

It's still "experimental" ;)

I personally think they are definitely off to a good start. Anything that allows me to bypass paying for 411 is a good thing (yes, I'm aware of the other services).

12:16 am on Apr 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

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wow, It's awesome!
Delivers very accurate results in the easy way - and free!
Voice recognition is on the level too - not once in 1/2 hour of me playing with it was it confused of what I'm saying. Also recognizes when and what I say while it's talking... like if I say "go back" at anytime, it interupts and starts over right away...

Another thing is finding the location - it says "Please say local zip code or intersection" - I was trying to find something next to "Ventura Bulvard and Woodman Avenue" - so I've said "Ventr 'an Woodmn" - that was recognized...

9:10 am on Apr 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

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When can I start buying voice ads?
2:07 pm on Apr 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Having been burned by voice recognition automated operators before when I had a phone through Virgin Mobile (anybody that's ever used it or set one up knows the evil that is Symone), there is one major improvement that I would add to the system.
I think that they should be programmed to recognize profanities, and by default regard them as synonymous with "go back." :)