June 22, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Tired of Paying Money for Dialing 411?

How much do you pay each time
you dial 411? Any idea? You probably
have no clue. OK, neither did I, so last
night I decided to grab the phone and
find out. I was surprised to hear them
tell me, “I’m sorry, we don’t have that
information.†They advised me to
contact “my phone company†to find
out. Um, so you can’t call 411 to find
out how much 411 costs, but I had to
pay for that call last night nonetheless.
I also tried with my cell phone
carrier, and was equally surprised to
find out that it’s about $1 a call for directory
assistance.
Even worse, over time, a simple 411
call has gone from being a call to a
real person to ask for a phone number,
to talking to a machine that does
its best to understand your answer to
the profound question, “City and state
please?†Hopefully you’re fortunate
enough to be understood by this machine
and not too annoyed to need to
say “California†after Los Angeles (because
you know, there are so many Los
Angeles’ in the world) and you finally
find the correct location of Borders
Books you want. You will then have
yet more options: to be connected, to
have the phone number sent to you in
the form of a text message (standard
charges apply there too) and more. I
suppose I should tell you that each of
those extra options costs money too,
at least in most cases.
The good news is that there’s a new
player in town … a new player that
will still makes you talk to a machine,
but at least it’s a darn good and smart
machine. This machine won’t just
ask you what listing you want, but,
if you’re not even sure what it is that
you want, it will help you decide. If
you’re looking for a good coffee house
in Santa Monica, just ask it. Want to
know where there is an AMC Theater
in Beverly Hills? (If you can’t find a
better thing to do in Beverly Hills.)
Say the words and it looks. Better yet,
do you want the option to
call and get this information
for free? OK disclaimer,
so free in this context means
no extra charges; cell phone
minutes are just cell phone
minutes, and from a landline,
well you pay what you
would for calling any old
1-800 number.) Say hello
to Google Information, or
“GOOG,†as it’s called at
1-800-GOOG411 or (800)
466-4411.
Yep, you read it right. Our buddies
at Google have done it yet again and
entered into the 411-type business of
directory assistance. Google (GOOG),
which I believe is more than $600 per
share as of this writing, has stepped
up to the plate in yet another arena of
“searching†and given us a true gem.
Here is 1800GOOG411 to the information
rescue.
First known for its on-line search
engine, then desktop search, then
mapping the world, and pretty much
anything else you can imagine, Google
is now providing your most up-todate,
easiest to use, most informative
and free 411 information service.
Give it a try, and kiss those extra
charges from to your phone company
for your 411 needs goodbye. You
won’t be disappointed!

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