Google just announced that it plans to shut down 1-800-GOOG-411, its voice-powered directory assistance service, on Nov. 12. GOOG-411, which launched in 2007, was the company’s first foray into voice-powered search. According to Google, GOOG-411 “provided a foundation for more ambitious services” on smartphone platforms like Google’s own Android and Apple’s iPhone. Interestingly, today’s announcement also notes that Google plans to put all of its resources “into speech-enabling the next generation of Google products and services across a multitude of languages.”
For those who relied on GOOG-411, Google suggests using the company’s text message-based search service (466453) for finding local businesses.
GOOG-411 Shuts Down, But More Voice-Enabled Services From Google Coming Soon
GOOG-411 was likely not a huge money-maker for Google, but it provided the company’s researchers with a massive data set for improving its speech recognition algorithms. GOOG-411 clearly served its purpose and even though Google is shutting it down now, the company is bullish on voice recognition. Android users with access to the Froyo update can already control most of their phones’ features by voice (courtesy of Voice Actions), for example, and Google’s iPhone app also features build-in voice recognition. Judging by today’s announcement, Google plans to make voice recognition a core feature of more of its services in the future.