You’ve heard the rumors. Now you can try the experimental service from Google Labs. Google Voice Local Search is now live and publicly claimed by Google. Greg Sterling will be along to say more either here or in a fresh post. In the meantime, you can call (1-800-GOOG-411) and get local information by talking to your phone, at least in the United States.
Postscript from Greg: Google’s experimental entry into automated voice-based mobile search (free directory assistance [DA]) establishes a clear competitive landscape, which will likely mean a further decline in call volumes and revenues for traditional mobile directory assistance, as consumers become more aware of the availability of these free services.
The current competitors in the segment are:
- 1-800-Free411 (Jingle Networks)
- TellMe (now owned by Microsoft) has various products
- 1-800-YellowPages (AT&T owned; not yet broadly available)
- Google (800-Goog411)
- There are also others, such as 1-800-SanDiego
Yahoo is noticeably absent from the group and has speech assets and speech professionals working there (former Nuance employees). So this may prompt further attention to a voice-based local search offering at Yahoo.
Asked whether Google would be integrating ads soon, the company said that it was not certain that ads would ever be integrated into the product, which offers an SMS/Text back with listings information, as well as free call connection.
Voice (DA) and text are where the volume of mobile data and search usage is today. And free DA is likely to capture a good deal of mobile search usage in the short term because it’s the most familiar to mobile users and has the largest “installed base” right now.
We’ll write more about this rapidly evolving segment later.