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Another Google Labs Experiment

April 9, 2007
Jay

On Friday Google Labs launched it’s newest experiment – Google Voice Local Search (GVLS). GVLS is a free* telephone directory listing service (411) that is fully-automated and accessible from any phone by calling 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411).

Google Voice Local Search provides the same information as the local-business info you’d find on Google.com and is currently available in English, in the US, for US business listings. It will either connect you to the business or send you an text message with the number and address. Because it’s in the experimental stages, they tell you it may not be available at all times and may not work for all users.

I tested it out this morning and it worked OK. As expected there are a few glitches with the system, but nothing TOO annoying. I tried two listings and had the same amount of success with each.

First I asked for Ten Golden Rules in Boca Raton, FL. The automated system picked up the city perfectly. I repeated the company name three times – twice with no success and the third time it heard Ten Golden World – that’s as effective as no listing at all! So I reverted to the text entry and typed in TEN using my keypad. Success!! Ten Golden Rules was the first result so I was happy.

Second I asked for the Eden Florist in Miramar, FL. Again the automated system recognized the city instantly. And again I repeated the company name and defaulted to text entry after the third attempt. I typed in EDEN with my keypad and first result Eden Florist & Gift Baskets WOOHOO!!

Although I was not impressed with the voice recognition with the company names, I can’t say for sure if that was a system glitch or partially attributed to the cell phone connection and the fact that I was standing outside in the wind. I did like how after three voice attempts the system prompts you to type in the name using your keypad, that should be an option from the beginning. The annoyance factor was low and the ease of use high, so I give GVLS a 3 out of 5 rating!

*Google doesn’t charge you for the call or for connecting you to the business. Regular phone charges may apply, based on your telephone service provider. If you opt for the information in a SMS message, standard charges apply as well.