Just dial 1-800-GOOG-411 from any phone (mobile or land-line), speak your location or type in the zip code, and then say what you're looking for: pizza delivery, hotel, craft store, etc. You'll hear a numbered list of results. You choose which one you want by saying that number, and Goog-411 connects you to that business, free of charge.
Want a text message with the business information or a map? As long as you're calling from a mobile device that can receive text messages, just say "Text message" or "Map it." Get more information about Goog-411 here.
For local results such as businesses, just text your zip code or city and state along with what you're looking for to GOOGLE (466453) on your mobile phone. This would have been handy to have on my recent road trip. A simple "Chevron The Dalles OR" would have saved us the fifteen minutes spend driving from one end of town to the other, even if it is a nice town with a beautiful view!
You can get results beyond this by using shortcuts. Text
- W for weather (w nyc or w 90210)
- M for movies (m 84526)
- D for definitions (d onomatopoeia)
- price for a product (price ipod)
As a Googlephile, I feel much more secure in knowing that I have access to Google's services even when I'm not at my computer. Hopefully you will too, even if your relationship with Google is less akin to idol worship than mine...
And a special announcement: For the month of August, Wednesdays will be all about usability: helping your readers to find the information they're looking for on your blog as easily as possible. My nerdy technical-writer usability-loving self will definitely be showing, but I promise you that spending a month of Wednesdays talking about usability will NOT make you a nerd. :) Feel free to comment here or email me using the email in my profile with any specific question or requests.