Monday, February 21, 2011

Bing Go

I was a little devastated, in November, when I learned that my favorite free directory assistance, GOOG 411. was about to be discontinued. What? How could this be? I stuck with GOOG for almost two years and I'd grown to love it.

Turns out GOOG 411 had a hidden agenda. Google was using my 'Long Island accent' to develop other, more advanced, speech recognition programs like Voice Search, Voice Input, and Voice Actions for mobile phones. In order to build a robust speech model they needed to collect thousands of pronunciations, syllables, intonations, and inflections.

The discovery that I was a participant in Google's ambitious project to move voice activated computing to a new level turned my devastation into delight. Among other things, maybe this massive collection of utterances will minimize the number of times I hear-- "Sorry I didn't get that," because the program is not processing my manner of speaking.

Directory assistance is quickly becoming a thing of the past -- it's demise accelerated buy the ridiculous $2 charge per call. Our phones are smart and the options for free information are abundant. A simple Internet search will deliver the phone number or address you need in less time than it takes to ask.

Just as I was learning to live without GOOG one of my best informants hooked me up with Bing 411 (compliments of Microsoft). I immediately got into it. Bing 411 will search by city for business listings and can connect to other directories for weather, movies, sports, news, time, travel, driving directions and even cheap gas. I like it.

Try it, you might like it too...800-BING 411 (800-246-4411).