Thursday, August 02, 2007

Free Vocal 411 From Google! 1-800-GOOG-411

I love GOOG 411! A little news flash in my Gmail told me about Google's new free 411 service for businesses currently percolating in their Google Labs. I called from my internet based (Vonage) land line, and the nicest mechanical man asked me: "What business name or category?" and without thinking, I just said "restaurant" and then it asked me which intersection or zip code. I wanted the number for a Joey's Pizza in Chagrin Falls, OH to see if it came up, but all I could think to say was "44022".

Not two seconds later, the man at GOOG 411 was giving me the top 8 results, starting with the very yummy Gamekeepers Tavern as a restaurant in or near 44022. Joey's Pizza was in there, as was Dinks. I tried "pizza" for 10025 in New York, and it really didn't have any pizza listings. That, or it could not understand me above my fan.

Next, I tried a direct search for Joey's Pizza. I started with "Cleveland, OH." I did not get a direct match. But clearly it was there. I tried "Moreland Hills, OH," but instead it gave me related listings, which included "Boston Market." Errr. Wrong. So then when GOOG asked me for my city and state, I gave the zip code of 44022 and stated the restaurant name. Bingo.

Extra Fun Things About Free GOOG 411:

  • You can "Go Back" to go back to the place you were before. Then the GOOG Man says: "Going Back."
  • Instead of a machine tinkering away after you say something, to indicate that it is thinking, a little guy is making machine noises, like "bleep dee dee bleep." And if there is a problem with what he is looking up, it will go "bleep dee dee bleep bloop bloop CONK CONK" and the GOOG Man says: "Let's just skip that part."
  • You can just keep looking things up by saying "Go Back."
  • The GOOG Man reads to you the address right away. He can connect you or give you more details, like recite the phone number.
  • When you have found your number and you're on your mobile phone, you can just say "text message" and it will text message you (GOOG knows your mobile number) while it is connecting you to the place!

How GOOG 411 Helps Your Website SEO

To be included in GOOG 411, you need to submit your business to Google Local. Being included in Google Local gives you more chances of rising to the top in the search engines when someone does a search for your type of business and the Google Local results are displayed before all else. See this local Starbucks example. And don't forget: on Apple's new iPhone, that uses Google Maps to provide maps to phone user, the same thing is presented. So when a person is actually in their car looking to go somewhere, and they type in a search for your type of business in the local area, you will come up as a little red arrow pointing to exactly where you are, with phone number clearly displayed. My boyfriend and I just did it to find local golf stores in Portland, Maine because he was consumed with buying a (another) driver. So go submit yourself!

To use Google's free 411 service, dial 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) from any phone. There are still listings that are not in there. I checked for some local ones around our apartment. This may mean that the businesses need to enter themselves into Google Local, which used to just help with Internet searches. But now it also helps for free and fast 411. To add your business into Google Local, click here. Here are some good FAQs about GOOG 411. Residential 411 is not included as of this post.


Katy said...

This is an old post of your's, I know, but I just had to say GOOG411 totally rocks!! We use it in the car, all the time.

I've been reading your blog and you've got some great stuff here. I had to recently close down my blog due to some stalkers, but I'm still learning a lot (though I still edit a group blog on my site).

Thanks for all of your hard work.

Mista said...

Thanks! Sorry that you had some stalkers. Can you moderate them at all with your comments? Like set your comments to not publish unless you approve them? I had a stalker from the most unexpected post, and I just stopped publishing his comments. Or I would delete them.

Love GOOG411. Love Google Maps on my iPhone!