Goog(le) 411


Free directory assistance

Directory assistance has always wanted to be free. Since it launched six months ago, Google’s foray into phone-based information for business listings has become the easiest, quickest, most efficient free 411 I’ve used. I’m amazed more people don’t have it programmed into their phones. Best part: there are no pre-roll ads.

Another well-known option is 1-800-FREE411, but it can take 20 seconds before the “What city and state?” finally arrives. With GOOG-411, the same prompt is delivered in 4 seconds. Time is precious, but even more so if you’re on a conservative plan with limited minutes. For that same reason (read: frugality), I’m less inclined to use SMS-based 411 or Google SMS.

GOOG-411 also connects your call to the business for free, so there’s no need to jot down or memorize any digits. Dialing “411” and paying $2 is like flipping through one of Ma Bell’s analog phone books when you’ve got a connected laptop right in front of you — an easily-remedied symptom of a bygone era.

-- Steven Leckart 10/5/07

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