Goodbye (and Good Riddance), 1-800-GOOG-411

Now, I understand that not everyone owns a smartphone or a feature phone with a data plan. For these folks, there’s still 1-800-FREE-411. And you can still ping Google by text message (“466453,” or “GOOGLE”) to get listings as text, which is arguably more useful than spoken directory listings, anyway.

The reason I’m actually happy, and not just indifferent, to see the end of GOOG-411 is in line with Google’s explanation: They want more resources to work on the next generation of speech-enabled services. Recently, Google introduced Voice Actions, which allow Android users to send text messages, punch in GPS directions and listen to music, all with speech.

I imagine that the initial purpose of GOOG-411, to harvest phonemes for other voice services, is now better fulfilled through these new services and Google Voice. If the end of GOOG-411 speeds the delivery of more speech-enabled features like Voice Actions, or perhaps makes Google Voice transcriptions less awful, I’ll shed no tears for Google’s Old Yeller.

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In announcing the imminent end of 1-800-GOOG-411, a free by-phone directory service, Google got sentimental and called the service an “old friend.” I couldn’t be happier to see it go.

For me, the announcement served mainly as a reminder that GOOG-411 existed in the first place. Sure, I knew about it, but owning a smartphone pretty much renders 411 services obsolete. Looking up a business on the Internet is faster, and delivers better results.

For kicks, I just used GOOG-411, which won’t shut down until November 12, to look up my favorite bagel shop in Los Angeles. The automated directory took a minute to deliver results, and Google didn’t even have the eatery in its listings. Yelp does, so when I conducted a voice search with Google’s mobile app, finding the information among plain old search results took half the time.

Leer más “Goodbye (and Good Riddance), 1-800-GOOG-411”

Apple’s Google Voice Pondering Goes on. And on.

TechCrunch’s Jason Kincaid notes that it’s now been a year since Apple told the FCC that it hadn’t rejected Google’s Google Voice app–it was just concerned about Google Voice bypassing the iPhone’s own Phone interface, and “pondering” how to respond.

Twelve months later, Apple is still pondering–which is confusing, because it’s also approved Line 2, Skype, and other apps which let you make phone calls without using the iPhone’s phone features. Meanwhile, Google ended up releasing a Web-based version of Voice for iPhone users–not bad, but nowhere near as seamless as the native one for Android and BlackBerry. And most of the other interesting things that Google has done for iPhone users in the past year have come in the form of Web apps, not local ones. I don’t think Google is boycotting the iPhone, but it sure would be understandable if it preferred not to invest a lot of time in apps that Apple might decide to “ponder” indefinitely rather than approve.


TechCrunch’s Jason Kincaid notes that it’s now been a year since Apple told the FCC that it hadn’t rejected Google’s Google Voice app–it was just concerned about Google Voice bypassing the iPhone’s own Phone interface, and “pondering” how to respond.

Twelve months later, Apple is still pondering–which is confusing, because it’s also approved Line 2, Skype, and other apps which let you make phone calls without using the iPhone’s phone features. Meanwhile, Google ended up releasing a Web-based version of Voice for iPhone users–not bad, but nowhere near as seamless as the native one for Android and BlackBerry. And most of the other interesting things that Google has done for iPhone users in the past year have come in the form of Web apps, not local ones. I don’t think Google is boycotting the iPhone, but it sure would be understandable if it preferred not to invest a lot of time in apps that Apple might decide to “ponder” indefinitely rather than approve. Leer más “Apple’s Google Voice Pondering Goes on. And on.”

Google Voice Voicemail Transcription Partially Useful, Unintentionally Hilarious

One of the benefits of Google Voice is voicemail transcription. I’m particularly bad about checking voicemail so I loved having this as an option. Here is the complete text of a voicemail I received on Friday:

Hi David, show look like early evening on Friday. Hope you guys are doing well.
Wanted to catch up with you. Well, I’ll try and I know, we’re having tons getting, in reply to that
and would love to try that dosomething with you guys so wanted to see what your schedules like
the conclusion make that work, so give us a call. I’m going to make this my phone calls now
and if you have a pretty wiped out. I think wemight just try to watch a movie later or something
but but give me a try. And if you had left not getting. We directly and how that he says clear
sense of times of might work of that and let me know, otherwisewe’ll just talk to soon, okay.
Take care bye bye.


I recently gave Google Voice another shot. I was an early user that never used it much, partially because I didn’t like my phone number much.

I checked it out again and paid $10 to switch my number to something more memorable. You can even search for number strings in your preferred area code, like any numbers with 1111 in it or some memorable sequence. Leer más “Google Voice Voicemail Transcription Partially Useful, Unintentionally Hilarious”

Google And Android Teaming Up To Beat iPhone @ SmashingApps


The Android may still behind in market as compare to iPhone App Stores in terms of quality, beauty and variety, but there is something which needs to be considered about the Android operating system, that it is tightly integrated with existing Google products, and the variety of devices and carriers. No doubt iPhone apps are wonderful and stunningly beautiful, but Android’s smart syncing with existing tools, interesting experiments done by Google labs for Android coming every day, and some tools by its open marketplace model may give a pause to average user of iPhone.

Android is completely open-source, that means the apps can change the functionality and appearance of the OS, well if you allow them to. It can be a safety issue, but it’s great for customization. So, I am not asking you to throw your iPhone and buy Andriod, what I am telling you is, if you want a change from iPhone and you are a die hard fan of Google then you better go for Android. There are four apps from Google for Android I will talk about and you can consider them if they suits your work and mobile lifestyle.

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Google Finance

Users who have some deep attachment with stock portfolio 24/7, Google Finance  is a useful tool for getting updated, real-time and customized quotes. The Android app syncs directly to your Google Finance portfolios and it streams live and updated data, charts and financial news right into your hands. Right now Android is the only mobile platform with an official Google Finance app.

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Google Voice

Google Voice allows you to keep your existing cell number, but it forwards your missed calls and voice mails to a generated Google number so that you can check them on the app or e-mail as convenient. Google voice service automatically generate voicemail transcription and instead of getting a voicemail on your phone, you will receive an email or text message with the transcription. Users can scroll through their messages visually like inbox and stream the audio messages from the mailbox as needed. Right now Google Voice is an invite only service. You can request for an invitation here or look for friends who are already users of Google Voice.
There are no doubt other great voicemail alternatives for the iPhone exists, but the deep integration of Gmail with Google Voice makes it a greate deal to your mobile arsenal of communication tools.

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Gmail and Calendar

Android OS has built-in utility of fully integrated Gmail and Calendar app and that must not be missed. Gmail and Google Apps user should go Android because its the handset which will complete the suite for cloud computing productivity tools. The working of Google apps like Gmail, Calendar, and Google Voice are flawless in Android because of the intrinsic link between Android and Google. Whatever you do with your Gmail inbox via web, it will be updated on your Android and same with Calendar, like you updated a birthday reminder on the web calendar, the updated calendar can be seen on Android.

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Google Listen

Google Listen is one of its kind app by Google Labs, it functions like a search engine and subscription tool for podcast across the web. If you are on the way to somewhere and realize you have missed to see the latest episode of your favourait daily soap, simply jump on Google Listen, search for it and stream it right way from the source. With Google Listen you dont need to download podcasts or connect to your handset with you PC, and with its builtin subscription option, once you find a show you will never miss an episode while on the move.

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If Google apps are most important for you then, the Android handset is the perfect choice for you isn’t it?

http://www.smashingapps.com/2010/04/16/google-and-android-teaming-up-to-beat-iphone.html

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21 Time Management Tips For Bloggers


Hello there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.

Underlying the constant search for tactics by bloggers out there, there is a huge perceived lack of time.

You’ve got a day job. A family. A life. How are you supposed to have enough time to create a successful blog?

Personally, I think our perceptions of time are completely arbitrary (more on that viewpoint on time here). A lot of our approach to time comes from within, so time management tips are usually ways to outsmart ourselves into getting more done despite our self-imposed limitations of how much we can get done.

So, prefaced with my strongly-held belief that it ultimately comes down to mindset, I’ve compiled a list of 21 tips to help you with your efficiency as bloggers.

  1. checklist Don’t check email first thing in the morning. Get some work done first since mornings are often when we function best.
  2. Switch to Google Voice. An invite is required, yes, but it allows you to screen your calls and have messages delivered to your email. Phone interruptions are the worst.
  3. Disown Your Phone. Set up a voice mail message which explains your schedule for checking messages, then disconnect the phone to avoid interruptions. Train others to work with you on this for enhanced efficiency.
  4. Limit Reading Time. As I covered before, you cannot consume and produce at the same time. So, limit the amount you ingest in order to be able to output more. Information overload is an extremely controllable problem.
  5. Use Evernote. It is a free and awesome way to take notes, tag them, categorize them, etc. Don’t keep ideas in your head. Free your mind and store the details in Evernote so you can get them when you need to. Get an idea while reading a blog post? Record it in Evernote – don’t keep it in your head.
  6. Use Remember The Milk for online task management. Get the premium option (only $25/year) and you can sync with your mobile phone. Very handy.
  7. Practice Inbox Zero. Your email inbox should be just that – an INbox. Not a big collective storage place for forgotten BS. Learn to handle, delegate or move emails and get them out of your inbox.
  8. Practice TRAF. This is trash, refer, act, file. These are the 4 choices you have when dealing with any incoming communication or action item.
  9. Assign Times To Tasks. When adding a task to your todo list, assign a time estimate to it on how long it will take. Then schedule it in accordingly. Leer más “21 Time Management Tips For Bloggers”

MyWare: Personalized Service or Invasion of Privacy?


Written by Dana Oshiro

This post is part of our ReadWriteStart channel, which is a resource and guide for first-time entrepreneurs and startups. The channel is sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark. To sign up for BizSpark, click here.

pleaserobme_privacy_feb10.jpgThere’s a fine line between what is considered a knowledge database and an invasion of privacy, and that line is likely to be determined by marketing. This week we wrote an article about Please Rob Me – a service that identifies Foursquare and Gowalla check-ins on Twitter and lets others know that a person is not home. While location-based services are often touted for their social and recommendation-based benefits, the realization that they can be used negatively have many questioning the responsibility of those groups that collect the data.

privacy_responsible_feb10.jpgIn mid January Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stated that the age of privacy had come to an end and we responded that evolving preferences were not a valid justification of the elimination of privacy preferences. Nevertheless, between cookie tracking and browser identifiers like those shown in the EFF’s Panopticlick and the fact that it only takes your zip code, gender and birthdate to identify you, it’s hard to ensure total privacy in the first place.

If a startup were to put up a page simply to capture the information of your friends, all of of your daily habits, your location and your purchases, few would opt in. But as Last.fm’s Felix Miller pointed out more than 4 years ago, you might do it for “myware”. Leer más “MyWare: Personalized Service or Invasion of Privacy?”

Hello, Google here!


Hello, Google hereCuando nos ponemos a analizar las distintas ramas de actividad y unidades de negocios que posee Google -aquella empresita que había comenzado en la universidad, ¿recuerda?- no podemos evitar sentir cierta inquietud, sobre todo cuando nos damos cuenta de cuántas actividades que realizamos diariamente están relacionadas con el Gigante de Mountain View. Desde informarnos, buscar entretenimiento, mandar un mail, o planear nuestro próximo viaje, prácticamente no hay actividad humana que en un punto no toque a Google. Leer más “Hello, Google here!”