It seems that Google is always coming out with something new. A huge list of beta and graduate programs and services are available at Google Labs. I’ve listed a few of my newest favorites below.
Google 411, or “Google Voice Local Search” as it is officially called, is Googleâ€™s experimental service to make local-business search accessible over the phone.
To try this service, just dial 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) from any phone.
Using this service, you can:
- search for a local business by name or category. You can say “Ben’s Garage” or just “auto repair”.
- get connected to the business, free of charge.
- get the details by SMS if youâ€™re using a mobile phone. Just say “text message”.
And the best part is that it’s free. Google doesnâ€™t charge you a thing for the call or for connecting you to the business. Regular phone charges may apply, based on your telephone service provider.
Also there are currently not advertisements, unlike other free 411 services such as 1-800-free-411.
Note: Google Voice Local Search is still in its experimental stage. It may not be available at all times and may not work for all users. Google is fine-tuning the service to get better at recognizing your requests. Itâ€™s currently only available in English, in the US, for US business listings.
Give it try by calling 1-800-GOOG-411 or visit http://labs.google.com/goog411/ for more details.
Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic.
Some handy uses of Google Alerts include:
- monitoring a developing news story
- keeping current on a competitor or industry
- getting the latest on a celebrity or event
- keeping tabs on your favorite sports teams
Create an alert now at http://www.google.com/webalerts/.
Google Mobile SMS
Need to perform a Google search and only have your cell? Text message your search query to 466453 (‘GOOGLE’ on most devices) and you will get a text message back with the results.
Try an interactive demo at http://sms.google.com/ and view results on a phone image as you would on your own mobile device.
Google Docs & Spreadsheets
Google Docs & Spreadsheets allows you to easy create basic documents and spreadsheets from scratch. You can basics, including making bulleted lists, sorting by columns, adding tables, images, comments, formulas, changing fonts and more.
You can upload your existing files. Google Docs & Spreadsheets accepts most popular file formats, including DOC, XLS, ODT, ODS, RTF, CSV, etc. So go ahead and upload your existing files; all your formatting and formulas will come through intact.
Google Docs & Spreadsheets has a familiar desktop feel makes editing a breeze. Just click the toolbar buttons to bold, underline, indent, change the font or number format, change the cell background color and so on.
This web based service is free and available at http://docs.google.com/.
Side note: If you prefer a desktop office suite, check out OpenOffice.org, a free and compatible alternative to Microsoft Office.
Google is continually developing new products and services. Visit the Google Labs page for more information.