Have you ever used 411 to find the number for a business listing? I'm sure you have. I'm also sure you've noticed the cost on your phone bill too (especially if you connected to the business through the 411 service after the listing was announced). Well, old technology being used in new ways may forever banish the heavy 411 charges we are all used to.
1- Business listings are available free on the internet, and have been for some time. 2- VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology makes phone calls incredibly cheap by tunneling calls through the internet. 3- Computerized narration programs allow text to be read allowed by computer software. 4- Voice recognition software allows computers to differentiate between several different spoken words. 5- 800 numbers leased to companies allow the receiver to pay for the call instead of the caller. (The companies then transfer the cost to advertisers).
Combine these 5 technologies and you get a toll-free, voice activated 411 service that connects you to your business of choice free of charge! For the best example, try calling 1-800-GOOG-411 (those are "oh's" not "zeros"). This is a service put together by Google Labs, and will connect you to any business listing for free. They also have an option that will send a map of the business to your cell phone).
Another good example is 1-800-FREE411. This service is ad supported (you will have to tolerate a 15 second long ad before your call is placed). One difference between this service and Google's service is that 1-800-FREE-411 will help you with residential listings as well (See www.free411.com for more details on this service).
1-800-411METRO is yet another of many that offer this service. Paying for information in the new century will not be the burden of consumers, that is for certain.
(As a note: 1-800-GOOG-411 is the only of these three services that will actually connect your call for free. The other two will only give you the listing information).
Remember, if you call from a cell phone you will still be using your minutes. You simply won't receive the $1-$3 411 fee.
I hope this helps you save some money every month! And please feel free to leave any free directory service numbers you've found in the comments section of this article.