The New Old-Timer

Google has this service called GOOG411. Just dial 1-800-GOOG-411 and it will ask you for a business and city. (You can give the name of a particular business or the category of the business.)

I was recently in a small town looking for a particular plumbing shop. I didn’t know its name or where it was, but I knew it was located near a bowling alley. So, I called 1-800-GOOG-411 and said ‘bowling alley’ and the name of the town. The Google voice read off a list of bowling alleys, including the street where each was located.

I hung up and called back, this time saying ‘plumbing shop’ and the name of the town. When Google began to read listings, I recognized that one of them was located on the same street as one of the bowling alleys. So I found the shop.

It’s pretty amazing that this worked. I can foresee Google adding this feature, and ones like it, to GOOG-411. Tell me which pizza place is closest to a day care center. Which apartment complex in town has the shortest walking distance to a bus stop. Find the closest grocery store to where I am right now.

It would be like having a lifelong resident of the town with you at all times, regardless of where you were.

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