Tech Crunch said “About 2.6 billion 411 calls are made in the U.S. each year, and it is a $7 billion/year market.” With this type of knowledge it seems to me that Google made a great move towards further connecting mobile search with local search and by offering it as a free service that’s Ad Free, I see many people shifting to this Google 411 immediately.
In countries like Japan the use of mobile search dwarfs American mobile search and offering a Search Engine based 411 service is an attempt at bridging the gap from mobile to local and the inevitable utilization of mobile search. We are looking at around a 14% growth rate for mobile search and most mobile search users are landing on portal pages and not results they are looking for creating mass frustration. Until we can overcome some of our mobile search growth problems I see Google 411 being a catalyst for the present and future mobile searcher.
Google pulls their 411 information off of their local business center located here. Just add your site to this local directory and you will be able to appear in the Google 411 local search.
I recently tested this product out and I suggest that you all do the same. My wife and I recently stopped for a bite to eat at Chick-fil-A (plug plug plug…please give me free coupons) taking a short break from apartment hunting. We did not know the directions to an apartment complex we were about to visit or the phone number so my wife said, “hey, lets use 1-800-373-3411…”, which is one of Google’s Free 411 competitors. After listening to a long advertisement and dealing with their horrible customer support that could not figure out how to spell Serrano Apartments they finally gave us a result of the leasing office but this call took about 3 minutes.
I decided to test out Google 411 so I called them up. After giving it the city and state and the name “Serrano Apartments” it gave me the leasing office within 15 seconds. Not only that but it also asked me if that result was OK or if I wanted to hear other results that returned for this query.
Something I experimented with for Google 411 is giving inaccurate places and names to see what would happen. The first thing I test was my name to see if I would get my phone number and I learned that currently they only offer business locations and not residential but this should change if the service takes off.
My second test was to see if the service would look up a restaurant in an area I know it’s not located in. What happened next is very interesting. It told me that the results do not yield anything BUT they have a list of related places that could just help me out if I am in the area. This list took words that I used in previous searches on this ONE phone call and used Google’s related searches to help find information that could help me. Google 411 gave me some really interesting results like Whyte Restaurant on Riverside Drive and other assorted restaurants in the area I chose but it also found a restaurant with my last name. I am not 100% sure if this is how Google 411 works but it seems to work well if it does!
My overall experience with Google 411 was great and I think in a market where most people are reluctant to call for fear of being over-charged, getting incorrect information and just an unpleasant experience, Google 411 will be loved.