For more than three and a half years, GOOG-411 has represented a great way for people with feature phones (and even smartphones) to look up and contact businesses; users just had to dial 1-800-GOOG-411, give a company’s name and city, and be connected. Unfortunately, Google will soon stop offering the service.
A post on the Official Google Blog explained this afternoon that GOOG-411 "helped provide a foundation for more ambitious services now available on smartphones," and now, "we’re putting all of our resources into speech-enabling the next generation of Google products and services across a multitude of languages."
As a result, GOOG-411 is supposed to be shut down on November 11th.
This makes sense in many ways, considering that GOOG-411 couldn’t have turned a profit and that, using audio samples from GOOG-411 calls, Google’s apparently refined its speech recognition software to a more-than-acceptable point.
GOOG-411 had lots of fans, though (including your humble author), and they’re already starting to push back. See the 15 (and counting) complaints following Jason Kincaid‘s coverage of the shutdown, for example.
Maybe Google will be convinced to reverse its decision. Whatever amount of money it would take to keep GOOG-411 running couldn’t seem like too crazy an expense next to the $1 million Google chose to invest in human-powered monorail Shweeb, after all.