Free 411: GOOG or CALL


Both Google and Microsoft have now introduced their voice-based local search facility for your phone. This service is only currently available in the United States. Even though I live less than 20 miles from the US border neither service works here. Last week it was a little clearer. Calling GOOG-411 ( 1-800-466-4411 ), I was told that the service was not available. Calling CALL-411 ( 1-800-225-5411 ), I got a busy signal. This week it is less satisfactory. The Google service gives me information on Langley, Washington when I ask for Langley, British Columbia. The Microsoft service tells me repeatedly, “I didn’t get that”. Presumably it’s only a matter of time until both services are available here.

Tom Spring of PC World was able to do a matched comparison. In his opinion, the result currently is a draw. Both services delivered the correct result, with Google taking a little longer since it repeats the request for confirmation. He has an interesting comment that the Google service is much simpler while the Microsoft service is slightly confusing in offering more choices. It’s perhaps no coincidence that this mirrors how both approach the regular keyword search. Google has that beautifully simple search page. Microsoft usually offers search within a portal page that flags the other services they have available.

It would be interesting to know whether either or both do user tests in deciding which format they will follow. Usability or the science of creating satisfactory user experiences regrettably does not receive the attention it should. Watching how typical users complete tasks as they use a particular service or website is an easy way to confirm that the best choices are being made. Given the expense of creating such services, it would seem foolhardy not to spend the limited extra dollars involved in checking whether the users think you have it right.

GOOG-411, A Harbinger Of The Mobile Web
GOOG-411 or CALL-411 – Voice-actuated Mobile Web
BTW, Live Search 411 Is Taking On GOOG 411


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Free 411: GOOG or CALL — 21 Comments

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  3. I have tried them both and prefer 1-800 The Info. This service is provided by Verizon, who has one of the best directory databases in the business. I was able to get a listing quickly, and have it sent to my cell phone before connecting to the business I requested. When I called back to do a little more checking, I was able to search by Category, which would be great while traveling.

    Better to use one built by an expert in the field, as they have been offering paid directory assistance for years. The operators where very nice and helpful when I had to go there.

    My money is on Verizon and 1800 The Info

  4. When it comes to free directory assistance, you have a lot of choices (at least in the US – and surely the same is or will be soon in other countries, too) – and with choice comes variety and change over time. As described in responses to the original post above, some characteristics will be more important to each user than others. Be sure to try them all, put your favorites in your mobile phone directory, and try them all again every so often. You never know when you will change who your favorite is!! (By the way, I have two in my phone right now, and my favorite is 1-800-YellowPages.) Grin!

    1-800-YellowPages (800-935-5697)
    1-800-555-Tell (800-555-8355)
    1-800-Call-411 (800-225-5411)
    1-800-Call-Dex (800-225-5339) (“beta” system)
    1-800-Free-411 (800-373-3411)
    1-800-Goog-411 (800-466-4411)
    1-800-Info-Fast (800-463-6327)
    1-800-San-Diego (800-726-3434) (for those in the San Diego, CA area)
    1-800-The-Info (800-843-4636)
    SayHello Service (904-358-3333) (It’s not a toll-free number, so check with your local phone company in the 904 area code in FL to see if it’s free for you.)

    And, I still pay for 411 sometimes, too! It all just depends on the situation – now we all have a lot more choices, depending on the situation.

    Happy calling!

  5. I’ve tried a few of these services and have finally landed on 1-800-The-Info. One thing that’s great is they have operators if you need it. Goog and Call411 are only automated and that works a some of the time, but I’ve found that a human is something that you just can’t replace.

  6. 411Save? That video was just stupid. Tried 411Save – got an operator and she seemed annoyed. Goog411 if you don’t mind automation all the time, or 800-The-Info if you sometimes need some help with an operator.

  7. Was needing a number of the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, RI and tried the automated GOOG-411 and the machine can’t find it. I did it the second time but I still got negative result. I heard this new 1800411SAVE and WOW!!! the operator gave me the number in a matter of seconds and its totally FREE!!!

  8. Personally, I like to use 1-800-411-SAVE as I hate those free DA services that trap you in an automated system. They’re ok with the easy stuff but I found another free service 800-411-SAVE this weekend with real people answering the phone.? I guarantee you’ll prefer talking to people.

  9. 1-800-411-SAVE is the best for me. You can try it and see how this one works. It’s completely free and live operators help you unlike some other free services. No matter where you are and no matter what time of the day. It’s awesome!

  10. I could’nt agree more. 1-800-411 SAVE is the best 411 service ive used ever. I’ll take human operators vs stupid machines anytime!!!

  11. All of these posts for 411 save crack me up. It’s pretty obvious to anyone that these are shills for the company. Pinetrees has does his/her homework and it’s up to you to try the one you like.

  12. I know where you’re coming from, Mark. Pinetrees did an excellent job by providing us options on what service to use. In my personal opinion, I would still prefer 1-800-411SAVE. You may chance upon an irate operator (as what Bob experienced) but still, it’s much better than talking to a dumb machine. Just my 2 cents. :-)

  13. we are free to choose which provider we should use. here’s a tip that might help you with that decision. Make sure you use whichever is the most convenient to you at the particular time you need directory assistance. like, you may be at work and you have a computer in front of you, then you use the computer based directory assistance; when you’re at a party and people around you are noisy, try to use the one with live operators coz definitely the automated system wouldn’t understand you; and when you know that you only have an easy listing or it’s just one in that town, you try the automated one, but make sure you speak clearly and loudly…For me, it boils down to one thing …which service really charges you less and which service gives you accurate numbers…..

  14. Gee “Phil”, why don’t you try At&T or 1-800-The-Info then? They both have operators too. I’ve tried them. Have you? Funny how all these mentions about 411-Save, from “different” people, all use similar talking points. I personally dislike it when marketing wonks think they can fool us.

  15. It’s your opinion ,Mark and I totally respect it. Ashlee ace is right, we all have the freedom to choose which provider to use so be it.

  16. Nice Ashlee! I myself tried different DA svcs avbl. (Mark) is there something wrong when someone wants to stress out one DA svc in particular? If that person really likes it then, why not let him say so. If you like something then share it as well. I like 411SAVE. I think theirs no problem saying that. You, what do you like?

  17. Its everyones prerogative whichever they want to use. I tried the free ones and the SMS that i received from 411save was a big help. That’s all, thanks.

  18. There’s a bunch of directory assistance providers, I’ved tried almost everything and I’m losing patience on which one to use. As I read your posts, I tried dialling 1-800-the-info and 1-800-411-save, goog411, 1800free 411 and the others mentioned by pinetrees and I guess I’ll stick with 1800411save. Yes ,the others would have human being as well, but how I was accomodated gave me the decision. The agent was so nice, reading out the phone number to me as I requested and she even offered me a connection. I just listened to a very short advertisement, and in a very short while I found myself connected to the pet store that I was looking for. At first I didnt believe that there wasnt any charge, but thats a fact! So now, I know what company should I trust! Thanks for the information everyone!