Google to Shut Down 1-800-GOOG-411

Google Voice Search

Oh Google, say it isn’t so! Google announced on their official blog that the they would be shutting down the 1-800-GOOG-411 service as of November 12, 2010. I know I’m not the only one who’s disappointed, but Google points out that the rise of smartphones has also been the rise of Google Voice Search (shown above on an iPhone – it’s built-in to Android) on mobile devices that don’t require you actually place a call to someone to get things like business listings or to be connected to a business whose name you know but number you don’t.

The service will still operate their SMS service, which you can text by sending a query to 466453 (“GOOGLE”) and they’ll respond with the same information, but those of us with smartphones – according to Google – should be using their Google Mobile apps, which offer way more features without forcing you to use voice minutes. I have to agree with that part, but it’s still a shame to see the service going by the wayside.

Granted, if you really liked being able to call someone and give it your location and what you’re looking for, Microsoft hasn’t announced plans to close BING-411 just yet, but its time may be coming as well.

[ The Official Google Blog :: Goodbye to an Old Friend: 1-800-GOOG-411 ]

4 thoughts on “Google to Shut Down 1-800-GOOG-411

  1. Mahdi

    And yet another great service is going to shut down, because of lousy marketing department in Google! The big problem with Google is that they don’t know how to market their great technologies and make money out of them. In this case their objection is that since they developed native apps for smartphones they don’t see any advantage in Goog-411 and therefore they won’t continue the service. I guess they should look into numbers, even in US the majority of people still use regular phones rather than Smart phones. So this is not a good excuse to abandon this great service.
    Whit this attitude, Google is going to lose its customers, especially now that they step into Enterprise with their Google Apps. With this attitude, there is no guaranty for businesses to switch to Google and layout their needs on Google Services, because Google might withdraw those services with or without any reasons. i.e. Just in May, 2010 @Google IO they announced that they are opening Google Waves for Apps’ users and couple months later they retired Wave! It’s hard to trust on experimental technologies, and that is why Google hasn’t been able to make money on most of its products except the search.
    Google! Please change this attitude!

  2. PK

    I suffered through 2-1/2 years with an HTC6800 PDA/smartphone before switching to a 2nd hand Motorola flip phone. Yes, a smartphone can do things that an ordinary flip phone can’t, like give you a full keyboard, better functionality and selection of applications, bigger screen, etc.

    But when it comes to call quality, smartphones generally aren’t for sh-t. In most cases it seems like the functionality as a phone was added “only because they had to” and therefore it doesn’t really matter if you can’t get a signal everywhere, or there are excessive drop-outs, delays, echo, or other voice quality issues during the call. The brick-like design usually puts the microphone on the outside/bottom edge of the phone, so the person you’re calling has the pleasure of hearing everyone else in the room sound louder than you. I guess you’re supposed to buy a Bluetooth headset too, right? Because those just sound SO MUCH better, don’t they. No…actually, they often sound even worse.

    Battery life is usually inferior, due to the power requirements of the larger screen, faster processor, multimedia applications, etc. The processor speed has to be leveraged with battery life, so you usually end up with something under-powered, resulting in delays and annoying wait-times when performing even the simplest of tasks. These devices are usually too large to fit in your pocket comfortably, so you often need a holster of some sort, which usually pulls down your belt/pants due to their greater weight.

    And of course there’s the cost. I know countless people who can barely cover all their bills each month. Yet they easily fork over $200 or more on a cell phone, plus the $80 or so each month for the voice and data plan (in addition to wasting hundreds more on unnecessary expenses such as cable TV, eating out, etc). I’m surprised to see so many teenagers these days with some sort of smartphone, and they’re usually texting, so someone’s paying extra for a texting plan too. Most of us know someone who’s always saying how short on cash they are, but I honestly don’t know of anyone who’s truly ‘broke’ in the sense that they’d get rid of all the unnecessary expenses for the sake of buying food or paying their rent/mortgage/utilities.

    After switching back to the Motorola flip, I was amazed at the improvement in battery life & voice quality, and it’s going to be pretty hard to get me to go back now. I’m also wondering why a 5-year old phone that’s been through the laundry at least twice sounds better than the brand new one you just bought yesterday.

    My point in all this is that it’s kind of lame for Google to assume everyone has or wants a smartphone. I think this is more or less another case of the industry leading the dumb unsuspecting people like cattle into believing that it’s ‘normal’ to spend more money more often on devices, accessories, monthly fees, etc. I’ve used Goog-411 countless times (especially while on the road) and was quite pleased with it’s ability to connect me with the business I’m looking for, while not being anywhere near a smart phone, data package, computer, internet access, etc. Unfortunately, free & easy doesn’t pay the bills of big business. Google can and will end Goog-411 in order to support this trend, and as long as the people remain stupid and easily-led, the trend will continue.

  3. David Miller

    Google’s idea of toll free service was innovative and it is sad to see it go down. Recently I came across a toll service by Justdial and the difference between the 2 services is vast. Justdial (1800-500-0000) boasts of human assisted service, one ring pick up and answers your queries within 60 seconds which 1800GOOG411 did not offer. This service is simply mindblowing.

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