Monday, June 23, 2008

GOOG-411 Provides Some Hearty Laughs for Canadians

Google is bringing its 411 service, which I didn't even know existed until now, to Canada. Call the number (1-800-GOOG-411), and you can find business listings anywhere, for free. As a "cute" add-on, Google claims to have engineered GOOG-411 for "Canadian English" with words like "eh", "Traw-na", and "aboot".

I gave the service a try and ended up laughing out loud at Google's interpretation (or rather misinterpretation) of some uniquely Canadian names. For example, I requested a search for a CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce) bank in Toronto, Ontario. At first, I thought the lovely, male voice on the line heard me incorrectly, because all the results he was providing were in "Quebec". Then I realized he wasn't actually saying "Quebec", but rather "kibick", as if he was dictating CIBC as an actual , four-letter word. Too funny. When I realized he wasn't finding the CIBC I was looking for on the Queensway Rd., I went back and searched again under the more specific city name Etobicoke. His repetition? "Eda-by-coke" (for anyone not from Toronto, it's actually pronounced "ee-toe-bi-coke"). At this point, I was just looking for stuff he might not get correctly: sadly, he understands Vaughan to be "vawn" and not "vaw-gen" as I thought he might have. I would be interested, however, to find a business location on Strachan (pronounced "strawn") to see what he comes up with!

In the end, GOOG-411 just couldn't find the location I was looking for, despite a few tries. It only supplies the top eight results, and doesn't let you search by an actual street name. As you can imagine, there are plenty of CIBCs around the greater Toronto area! Can you imagine what it would be like looking for a specific Tim Horton's location? But consider that the service is free, and it's probably much better at finding specific spots, like a particular mall or restaurant. Even though my call wasn't a success, for a good, hearty laugh on a Monday morning, it was worth it.

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Vince said...

Wow, that's a surprise. I've been using the service for a while now. (It's been avaialable, just now publicized till now) I've had sucess every time. Do you talk funny? (just kidding)

Anonymous said...

LOL, try getting a listing for Wiarton, Ontario.
All I can get are Wakerton or Waterdown.