411 for free-free-free

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Want to waste money? It's as easy as dialing 411 on your cell phone.

My carrier, Verizon, charges almost $1.50 for each call. But thanks to Google and Microsoft, there is no need to pay these usurious charges; the big two provide a better product, free.

I've written before about Google's 411 voice-response service, which not only allows you to find out a business address and phone number, for free, but will connect you for free. Now Microsoft, as part of its new Bing search service, has matched this and added a useful feature by providing turn by turn directions to the location of your choice. Here's how it worked for me-

I called 1-800-BING-411 (1-800-2464). A female computer voice asked for the city and state of the business I was seeking. "Columbus, Ohio" I replied. She asked for the business name. "The Crimson Cup," I replied.

She responded with the coffee house's address, phone number, a rating (3 stars). She offered to text message me the information, also, as well as provide me turn-by-turn directions to get there. After giving her my location, she read me the directions, very clearly expressed, and again offered to text them to me as well. I accepted. Within a few seconds, I had all the info I needed.

Verizon can stick its 411 charge. The evil empires are working out just fine for me.

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