Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Google 411

UPDATE: Google discontinued this service. Apparently the purpose of this service was to collect many examples of people talking to help improve their voice recognition software.

Google's 411 telephone service, known as GOOG-411, is extremely helpful. I use it often to find either find a business in the first place or to find the address or phone number of a business.

It is not always perfect. For example, my family is in Rochester, MN for my dad's surgery. When we were trying to figure out how to order pizza from Zadeos Pizza. According to GOOG-411, the two results for "Zadeos Pizza" in Rochester, MN are:
  1. Zadeos Pizza, 303 Elton Hills Drive Northwest, (507) 281-1330
  2. Zadeos Pizza North, 3120 Wellner Drive Northeast, (507) 281-1330
(The links are to the online version of the GOOG-411 search results.)

Two things about this seem off. First, the phone number for both results are the same (but the addresses are different) and the naming structure is not parallel. The naming structure would be "parallel" if there were both "Zadeos Pizza" or if second result was named "Zadeos Pizza [direction]".

The correct answer is that the first result should be
Zadeos Pizza South, 1021 15th Ave Southeast, (507) 282-5898.
The worst part about all of this is that I do not know how to inform Google about their mistake. According to this GOOG-411 page, the GOOG-411 results come from Google Maps. However, this also seems incorrect because the Google Maps search results for "Zadeos Pizza" in Rochester, MN is has both of the two correct results as well as the incorrect GOOG-411 result.

I was able to use the "report a problem" link to inform Google about the mistake in Google Maps, but GOOG-411 does not have a "report a problem" link. I figure that either this link is missing on accident, or Google decided that GOOG-411 does not deserve its own "report a problem" link since it is really just a different front end to Google Maps.

I think my pesudo-bug report here proves that GOOG-411 needs its own "report a problem" link. Let's go Google. Help me (and and your other passionate users) help you by adding a "report a problem" link for your GOOG-411 service.

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