Google 411

So, Google Labs has another sweet service that’s pretty sexy…Google 411. What is it? Well…as Techcrunch explains it:

Google threw a new product called Goog-411 into Google Labs today – a free telephone based information service that could replace toll 411 calls. About 2.6 billion 411 calls are made in the U.S. each year, and it is a $7 billion/year market.

Free is awesome. All you need to do is dial 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) and leveraging Local Search you can:

  • search for a local business by name or category. You can say “Giovanni’s Pizzeria” or just “pizza”.
  • get connected to the business, free of charge.
  • get the details by SMS if you’re using a mobile phone. Just say “text message”.

GOOG-411 is a completely automated service using voice recognition that prompts you for a series of questions (city & state, business/category, and result browsing) and if you or the system messes up at any time, simply say: go back and you’ll return to the previous menu. As I am a user of 411 (although I dial 555-1212), I’ll be adding GOOG-411 to my speed dial on my cell.

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Vonage Takes It In The Eye

Some of you may know the problems Vonage has been having with Verizon and being found guilty of violating some patents. Well, via Slashdot I discovered that Vonage has reached a bit of a rocky situation. Slashdot writes:

The latest in Verizon vs. Vonage is in. The judge has basically stopped Vonage from accepting new customers. From the article: ‘A judge issued an injunction Friday that effectively bars Internet phone carrier Vonage from signing up new customers as punishment for infringing on patents held by Verizon. Vonage’s lawyers said the compromise injunction posted by U.S District Judge Hilton is almost as devastating as an injunction that would have affected Vonage’s 2.2 million existing customers.
[...]

Of particular note is what the Vonage lawyer, Roger Warin, said:

It’s the difference of cutting off oxygen as opposed to the bullet in the head.

What will this mean for Vonage? Death? More importantly…what does this mean for me…a lowly subscriber?

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iPhone is a Reality


Engadget has a nice summary of the iPhone:

Capping literally years of speculation on perhaps the most intensely followed unconfirmed product in Apple’s history — and that’s saying a lot — the iPhone has been announced today. Yeah, we said it: “iPhone,” the name the entire free world had all but unanimously christened it from the time it’d been nothing more than a twinkle in Stevie J’s eye (comments, Cisco?). Sweet, glorious specs of the 11.6 millimeter device (that’s frickin’ thin, by the way) include a 3.5-inch wide touchscreen display with multi-touch support and a proximity sensor to turn off the sensor when it’s close to your face, 2 megapixel cam, 4GB or 8 GB of storage, Bluetooth with EDR, WiFi that automatically engages when in range, and quadband GSM radio with EDGE. Perhaps most amazingly, though, it somehow runs OS X with support for Widgets, Google Maps, and Safari, and iTunes (of course) with CoverFlow out of the gate. A partnership with Yahoo will allow all iPhone customers to hook up with free push IMAP email. Apple quotes 5 hours of battery life for talk or video, with a full 16 hours in music mode. In a twisted way, this is one rumor mill we’re almost sad to see grind to a halt; after all, when is the next time we’re going to have an opportunity to run this picture? The 4GB iPhone will go out the door for $499 on a two-year contract, 8GB for $599. Ships Stateside in June, Europe in fourth quarter, Asia in 2008.

Gizmodo is at MacWorld and has confirmed that the iPhone is a reality…here’s some of their play by play!

9:46: Steve’s stressing about the keyboard being “in the way” of usual smartphones. The solution? A touchscreen interface.

9:47: The solution? A giant touchscreen interface. Multi-touch! You can do multi-gestures on the screen itself.

9:51: The iPhone syncs just like the iPod to your PC and Mac.

9:51: It syncs not only music, videos, but all your data! Bookmarks, email setup, contacts.

9:52: Just like an iPod.

9:52: Runs OSX

9:52: Thinner than any smartphone out there.

9:52: 160ppi

9:52: Controls on the side, volume, silent. The Back: 2-megapixel camera.

9:53: Top: headset jack, SIM, sleep-wake.

9:53: An iPod connector, just like the iPod (on the bottom).

9:54: Proximity sensor on the face, turns off the screen so your face doesn’t press the buttons.

9:54: Ambient light switch and accelerometer to switch from portrait to landscape.

9:55: Built-in speaker.

1. Widescreen iPod with touch control.

2. The Apple Phone.

3. Internet communications device.

All in one! It’s actually going to be called the iPhone!


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