GOOG 411…later buddy

So for anyone that’s interested, GOOG-411 is officially gone. Kinda sad that it’s been retired on Veteran’s Day of 2010, but I suppose that all good things must come to an end. If you give the phone number a call it will give you a short voice recording even thanking you for the good times… I’m wondering what kind of phone messages were recorded.

On the brighter side of things though, Google SMS still works. So if you’re looking for a decent way to find information based on where you’re at, you can simply send an SMS message to 466453 (though 46645 seems to work too). First thing you probably want to do is set your location, which can be simply done by sending a message with “SET LOCATION <ZIP CODE>”. If you want to search somewhere else – say you go out to St. Louis for some reason, no problem, just change your location. If you’re wondering what time it is in another city, say in Wahiawa, Hawaii, just type the command, “TIME Wahiawa, HI” and boom, you’ve got the local time.

Interestingly enough if you use Google Voice, you can actually send requests that way so that you’re not incurring texting fees on your mobile phone.

If you’re really interested in learning more about how to use Google SMS, check out the help files. Pretty cool that there are event shortcuts – yes, that’s right, if you need weather results for a zip code, simply send an SMS with “WX <ZIP CODE>” – wicked sweet.

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Bye Bye Goog-411

http://cid-0bc4c9d6d8f9371b.office.live.com/embedphoto.aspx/.Public/uvageek/GoogleMobileAppResults.PNGI’m a little saddened to read that Google is discontinuing their 411 service, however I figure that now that they the US population has freely provided millions of voices with different inflections, pronunciations and words, Google’s digital stomach is churning with information to dissect.

Nevertheless, with the capability ceasing and with smartphones a flurry, there are still ways to do voice searches on your phone without having to even make a phone call – though you will incur data charges should they apply… Checkout Google’s offerings yonder at http://www.google.com/goog411/index.html for more information.  I loaded the Google Mobile App on my iPhone last night and have to say that it’s come a long way since version 1.0. If only it was as easy as just voice dialing a phone number though so as to not be distracted…

Health Care on Social Media?

Interestingly enough, while checking in on Four Square today, I noticed in the upper right hand of the iPhone app a mention of a special nearby.  When I clicked on it, I expected it to be something from a Starbucks nearby or perhaps the Houlihan’s a few miles away.  Instead it was something that struck me as a little odd.

http://cid-0bc4c9d6d8f9371b.office.live.com/embedphoto.aspx/.Public/uvageek/4sq-InovaHealthPlex.PNGSo I don’t know about you but this definitely made me scratch my head and wonder. I’m not quite certain what to think of such a revelation of healthcare vendors getting in on Web 2.0 / social media…Let alone Four Square.

So what does this mean that we can look forward to seeing? Good question since I’m thinking that the average age of Four Square users is somewhere under the age of 30 – individuals that aren’t too concerned about their physical location being known or too concerned with their personal privacy.

I suppose we are coming of age where individuals start having different information targeted at them based on their location – similar to Minority Report.

Nevertheless, interesting to see that Inova Healthplex is proactively reminding folks that they should get their flu shots.  I’m curious how one goes upon unlocking the “special”…