Home What's Brewing? Google Local, Zillow Home Q&A

Google Local, Zillow Home Q&A

Google Voice Local Search is Google’s latest bid to make local-business search accessible over the phone.

To try the free service, just dial 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411) from any phone. With this service, you can: * search for a local business by name or category. For example, after saying Seattle, Wa. say “Paramount Theater” or just “Paramount.” You’lll be connected to the business free of charge. You can also get the details by SMS if you’re using a mobile phone. Just say “text message”. And it’s all free. Google doesn’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.

Microsoft, of course, also has local voice search through the TellMe service it acquired last month.

In related news, Google has also announced Personalized Maps. Wiht Google Maps you can create and share personalized, annotated maps of your world. Mark your favorite places on your map. Draw lines and shapes to highlight paths and areas. Add your own text, photos, and videos. Publish your map to the web. Share your map with friends and family. When you visit Google Maps, you’ll now see a new tab that introduces you to My Maps. [24×7]

Zillow.com Wants Users to Chat About Real Estate
Zillow.com is launching a “Home Q&A” section to take the site in a social-networking direction. Under this new feature, users can post questions and answers about any home on the site, and also create a free profile page, list homes for sale and purchase inexpensive ads for any ZIP code. [24×7]

Tacoma Home Ransacked After Craig’s List Listing
Everything, including the kitchen sink, was stripped from a rental home in Tacoma, Wa after an Internet classified ad invited people to take whatever they wanted for free.

But the landlord said the ad, posted last weekend on the craigslist website, was fake. “In the ad, it said come and take what you want. Everything is free,” Laurie Raye told Seattle’s KING-TV.

Raye had cleaned out the rental after evicting a tenant. After the ad appeared, the property was stripped of the sink, light fixtures and the hot water heater. Even the front door and a vinyl window were pilfered, Raye said.

Neighbours said they saw strangers hauling items away, apparently looking for salvage material.

Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster said Thursday the ad was posted last Friday and was on the site for less than two hours before users flagged it down.

Craigslist officials “have released all the information we have” about the ad, Buckmaster said in an e-mail.

He said craigslist rarely encounters such false postings, despite receiving 25 million postings each month.

Police said they’ve seen craigslist problems before.

“We’ve had prostitution things happen, rental scams, fraudulent activity. In this case, it appeared the items were going to be given away but they were not,” Det. Gretchen Ellis said. [24×7]