You can now get a local search, similar to trying to trawl through the phone books, for free via Google. It's based on the Google Maps technology and looks like it could become a very useful addition to hte possibilities of finding things locally.
Computer Web search leader Google Inc. on Friday stepped up an experiment to use speech recognition on telephones so consumers can ask for local information, in a challenge to directory assistance providers.
The company is inviting U.S. callers to dial 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) from any phone to test a voice-activated service free-of-charge that it calls Google Voice Local Search, which is available on its experimental Google Labs site.
"Using this service, you get fast access to the same local information you'd find on Google Maps," an explanation of the new experiment said on the Google Labs site. "You don't need a computer, you don't need an Internet connection, and you don't even need to use your cellphone keypad," it said.
You can all the details here.
Hey, if you're in the US try it out and let us know how it works.