There are going to be a large  number of unhappy people when they read this news. Google has decided that the telephone information service it has offered for a few years is not to continue, and will be shut down in November.

Though a couple of similar services exist, they are not as easily used as the one from Google, but it’s probably time to start getting used to the changes now, with approximately one month of use left on the helpful program.

[v3.co.uk]

Google has decided to cancel its voice-controlled phone directory service.

The company said that on 12 November, it would be shutting down the service in the US and Canada.

Does this mean it continues elsewhere? Are we in North America the only unfortunate souls?

First launched in 2007, 1-800-GOOG-411 allowed users to call a number and perform searches through voice commands. The service was touted as an alternative to traditional directory services.

Google said that the move was in large part due to the rise of smartphones. With similar voice recognition features available on handsets such as those running Android, the company is shifting its focus.

In other words, we can monetize this sucker now! But I have no animus toward Google; for how could I, they have been providing the service free for anyone who wanted – it’s sad to see it go though.

"Our success encouraged us to aim for more innovation," wrote GOOG-411 team members on a posting to the company’s official blog.

"Thus, we’re putting all of our resources into speech-enabling the next generation of Google products and services across a multitude of languages."

Feature phone users who still wish to use Google’s directory service will still be able to in a limited capacity, The company is maintaining a text message service at 466453 which will allow users to request and receive information.

Additionally, the company is advising users to utilise the voice call features on Gmail.

Those voice call features are very nice, but a bit spotty, sometimes, on the same machine, they work well, and 30  minutes later, they look like they’re working, but nothing happens. Oh, well, it’s in beta, right?

How does Google Voice work for you? I find it works best from inside GMail, and not very well from the standard Google search screen, though you can bring the dialer up from there.

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