Bad news for cell phone users: Google is going to hang up on its free 411 information service.
But before you get too upset, the good news is that Microsoft hopes to step up to take its place.
Expensive 411 calls
No matter how much you plan ahead, it happens to all of us: You're out on the street on your cell phone, and you realize you don't have a number you need to call.
So you dial 411, and hold your breath when your cell phone bill arrives. Most cell carriers now charge between $1.50 and $2 for a 411 call, and that doesn't include airtime.
As a result, some people won't dial 411, ever.
Free 411 Services
That's changed, though, in the past few years thanks to the arrival of free services, such as Google's 411, and the original, 1-800-FREE-411. Unfortunately, that one, while useful, is loaded with ads.
And Google has just announced it is ending 800-GOOG-411 on November 12th, 2010, because it wants people to use its smart phone application instead.
So what's a caller to do? Enter the newest free service: 1-800-Bing-411.
Just dial 1-800-B-I-N-G-411, and you can find local businesses, and even get traffic reports, movie showtimes, and weather.
Bing, of course, is Microsoft's upstart search engine, and Microsoft's betting that it can switch over some Google users to bing's search engine as a result of this.
So don't waste your money.
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Copyright 2010 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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