Microsoft announced its free Live Search 411 service, a directory assistance line with more features than the average local directory listing.
Directory assistance, based on its traditional pay-per-use model, is a standard in phone service and subsequently a multi-billion dollar industry.
Jingle Networks' 1-800-FREE-411 garnered attention of 411 users early with its ad-based service. It quickly proved that there was a big enough market to warrant competition from the likes of AT&T's 1-800-YELLOWPAGES and Google's GOOG-411, both of which launched shortly after.
AT&T's service is still not available everywhere, however, and GOOG-411 only recently left the confines of Google's Labs.
Now, Microsoft is getting into the game with Live Search 411 (800-CALL-411). Like its competitors, Microsoft's offering provides callers with local directory assistance, but unique to Live Search 411 are menus for travel info, movie listings, weather and traffic reports. The option to have search results texted to Web-enabled phones is presented as well.Microsoft, Windows Live, Serach, Live Search 411, GOOG-411, Google, Announcement