Paul Boutin says: "While everyone else is pontificating on what the GOOG-411 billboards around the country must mean, I called the number a few dozen times during lunch to test it. I think of Cory every time it answers -- not with a hello but with 'Calls recorded for quality.'"
I spent a half hour speed-dialing Google's new phone directory service, 800-GOOG-411. The verdict? Google's speech-recognition and geo-mapping algorithms outperformed Verizon and AT&T's humans this afternoon. GOOG-411 figured out that "Dover-Foxcroft" was a town in Maine rather than bouncing me to an operator. It deduced that "H H Brown Shoes" meant a store in nearby Dexter. It let me talk with my mouth full. But the service makes an irritatingly un-Googly first impression on callers.Link
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.