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Main > Archives > 2007 > April > Local Search Goes to the Phones

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Local Search Goes to the Phones

Google launched a free 411 service that must have the directory services uttering some words not suitable for children. The Google 411 service is voice-activated and computer-driven, so it may be frustrating to use if you aren't sure about how to phrase what you are looking for and want to talk with another human.

I tested it with a few simple queries and it worked well -- the results were fast and matched the results you get from an online query. Google is giving away a service that last year generated $9.4 billion, according to the Kelsey Group (per MediaPost).

Google isn't the only one getting busy in this arena, as Microsoft is acquiring directory service company Tellme. Google is doing to directory assistance what Craigslist has done to classifieds -- and they will probably be just as successful.

I'm guessing that Google expects to make more money from ad revenue than by charging people to call. Advertisers who pay for online placement get priority in the free service, which makes advertising online that much more valuable.

I noticed that Google has integrated local results within its general search results, which wasn't the case the last time I checked a few months ago. If you search under a business category and city, you see the local results at the top of the page. This is a huge benefit to advertisers and consumers who will find what they are looking for much faster.

By John Gartner at 09:15 AM | Comments (0)

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