Three Options for FREE Directory Assistance: FREE 411, GOOG 411, FreeMobile411

Posted on August 31, 2008. Filed under: Business, Career & Work, Personal Finance, Travel & Leisure, Uncategorized | Tags: , |

For those of you who are on the road, and on their cell phone, all the time, here is some great info.  Fees for directory assistance calls (including ones made from cellphones), are on the increase. On Feb. 1, Sprint increased its 411 fee from $1.49 to $1.79. Last fall, Verizon and Cingular boosted fees to $1.49 and $1.79, respectively.  Last month, I had to find a phone number to call a distant relative in another state. So silly me, when I couldn’t find it on the web, I called state area code-555-1212 for directory assistance from my land line.  When I got my AT&T phone bill, I was unpleasantly surprised to find I was charged $1.75.  The last time I had done that, it wasn’t more than 50 cents.  Bad BudgetMaven.

What I should have done and will do from now on when I need directory assistance from home or cell, without incurring any charges, is dial one of these:

1-800-FREE-411 which is also 1 (800) 373-3411
Thanks to a newly expanded service called 1-800-FREE-411, you can request the digits of individuals and businesses without paying a fee at all.  The start-up has been around since September 2005, but was propelled into the spotlight late last year after garnering $30 million in venture capital. The trade-off is minor: to keep the service free, you’ll listen to a short sponsor ad (on average 12 seconds) from a local business before your request is completed.

800-GOOG-411 which is also 1 (800) 466-4411

Google’s directory assistance 800-GOOG-411 is offered to the public free of charge and does not contain advertising

Users that call 1-800-466-4411 are told that the call is being recorded to improve results, and then asked to say the city and state of the sought business. Users may then search for the business by name or category, which generates a list of businesses matching the search. Users may then select a business on the list by saying “number” followed the number that corresponds to the business, or press the desired number on their phone. Once a business is selected, Google automatically connects the user to the business or sends an SMS/text message with the phone number. Alternatively, users can listen to the address and phone number by saying “details”.  U.S. users may narrow search results by zip code or street intersection.

Search can also be invoked by using the phone keys if the system misses the spoken query multiple times. This works in a similar manner to predictive text input on a cellular phone.

You can view a short video of how to here: http://www.google.com/goog411/

FreeMobile411 (available at both freemobile411.com and fm411.mobi)

FreeMobile411™ by V-ENABLE gives fast and easy access to millions of US business (restaurants, shops, banks etc) and residential listings, detailed maps, nearby points of interests, driving directions and much more.

The downloadable version of FreeMobile411™ is a very easy to use VOICE-ENABLED search application. After downloading FreeMobile411™, just open the application on your mobile phone, PRESS and HOLD the “talk” key and say the “City and State” you need. Next, select either “Search by Business Name”, “Business Type” or “Person”. PRESS and HOLD the “talk” key and say either the business listing you are looking for (“Joe’s Pizza”), a business category (“Pizza”) or a Person (“John Smith”). Within a few seconds, the phone number, address, map, directions, nearby places and other great features will be displayed on you phone. You also have the option to make a search by typing in your request if you are in a very loud or quiet environment.

Where the product differs from others today, such as 1-800-Free-411 and Google’s Goog-411 is that FreeMobile411™ also allows you to type in the information you need and connect to a live operator if needed.  Using real people to assist with free 411 calls seems like a step back into the past, but it’s a point of differentiation that will appeal to some people, especially when automation fails.

To obtain FreeMobile411™, please fill in the information needed in the “Get Started” page of their site or click here.  You can also access FreeMobile411™ in your phone’s browser by typing freemobile411.com.

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One Response to “Three Options for FREE Directory Assistance: FREE 411, GOOG 411, FreeMobile411”

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Thanks for the breakdown of these services. If I may, though, I’ve got a few points to add about 1-800-FREE411.

First, we’ve got business, gov’t, and residential listings, while that Google number only has business listings.

Also, we’ve got a new feature called Driving Directions. At the Main Menu, say “Directions” and follow the prompts, and we’ll text turn-by-turn directions to your cell immediately following the call.

Lastly, unlike the FreeMobile application, there’s nothing you need to download to your phone — just call the number and that’s it. Free.

Thanks,
Jay


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