Google Makes Fathers Unnecessary

My son Mike has frequently called me while driving around and asked that I look up some business on Google and give him the location or the phone number. We’ve jokingly referred to that as his connecting with “Dear-Old-Dad Central” or “the Mother Ship.” However, now such calls are no longer necessary.

Google has introduced yet another experimental service called Google Voice Local Search. This morning I’ve tested it out and pronounced it quite useful. So much so that I’ve programmed the number into my cell phone, given it a speed dial code and resolved to use it when I need to know such information. They provide this “cheat sheet” that explains in simple terms how to use the service.

One thing I discovered while experimenting with it this morning is that it is preferable to feed Google the zip code where you are located, if you know it, rather than the city name, since doing so will result in getting information on businesses nearer to where you are located than if you specify the entire city. For instance, I specified Knoxville, TN, rather than my zip code, and I asked for information on grocery stores. I got the correct information, but the stores it gave me were on the other end of town. Of course, if you are driving around, you may not know the exact zip code of the neighborhood in which you are driving, so under those circumstances, you may have to give it the generic city and just sort through the results you get.

Once again, Google has provided a service that will, in time, cause us to wonder how we ever got along without it, just as many of us do with its search engine, its maps or any of the other myriad services it offers. And in the process, it has put another mom-and-pop service out of business, as “Dear-Old-Dad Central” and “the Mother Ship” fade into irrelevancy.

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