Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Information Please!

Nick Greenup, Sr. Analyst in the Ed Tech Center, recently shared this information with me. When Nick receives a new phone book, he slices out the coupon pages, staples them together and discards the rest of the book. With directory assistance and the Internet there’s no need to keep a bulky set of yellow pages around. Here are the ways Nick accesses the information he needs.

For residential, business, and "reverse" look up use: Reverse lookup is when you know the phone number and want to find out to whom it belongs. Try looking up your own information and you’ll see what’s available to anyone on the web. Helpful and scary.

When fails to locate a desired business or contact, try a Google Maps search ( Notice the Find Businesses tab at the top. You can be very general or specific with your search. For instance, try “colleges” in the What field and “Overland Park” in the Where field. You’ll see all the local educational options. Nick points out that you can also talk to Google Maps like a buddy instead of a computer program; e.g., type "pizza in overland park" or "lunch Westport" and you’ll see surprisingly good results including a list of findings and a map view with all contact info (often a picture or street view of the business too). You can also get driving directions using Google Maps.

Suppose you are not at your computer, then what? Call 1411 and pay up to $3.50 per call? No way! Try Goog411, by calling toll free 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411). Check out the YouTube video for more details. There is no charge for the service and they will connect you to the desired number without charge too. If using a cell phone you can say "text message" and Google will text you the business details. If you have a phone with Internet access you can say map it and view a map/directions!

These options should cover all your “information” needs, but there’s still one more option. It’s not new, does include ads, but it’s also free. This company holds the patent for free ad-based 411 information. Simply call 800-Free-411. If you have a Skype account add the contact "FREE411USA" and when you call it using Skype you’ll be connected to the service. Nick also mentioned that “Microsoft and AT&T are also running a free 411, but I haven't tried them.”

1 comment:

ken said...

Yet if I'm looking for an auto glass replacement service that takes Visa, has mobile service, specializes in German brands, and is not part of a large chain, your online search would take a long time.

when I flip open the the Yellow Pages I found what I needed in less than a minute, and they even have a half page ad, so they must be doing pretty well to be able to afford that ad.

Perhaps Nick should think about keeping that phone book.

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