We got Google Street View-ed!

Amazingly, Sheila was sitting outside the house in the car when it happened. The Google car drove past and Sheila immediately recognised what it was.

Our street is a dead end so we knew he had to come back, so Sheila shouted for me and by the time he returned she was standing outside with her camera and I was doing silly dances by the car!

The chap at the wheel grinned, slowed a little then gave a thumbs up which we assume meant we’d been snapped! I doubt he gets many people in sleepy old Worcester who know what he’s doing.

We’ll keep an eye out for it’s appearance of course.

I also dropped Google a note asking when UK Street View might be online. If and when I get an answer I’ll update this post.

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Fonolo

Now this deserves the tag “Cool”!

Fonolo is a service that helps consumers (or business people) deal with large companies over the phone. Fonolo’s ‘Deep Dialing’ feature allows you to skip those dreaded phone menus (AKA Interactive Voice response or “IVR” systems) I moaned about a while ago, and get right to the point.

With Fonolo, users can easily navigate those ghastly “phone trees” – you know, “You now have seven options, press 1 for service, 2 for support, 3 for sales…” It’s all done visually, on a computer or mobile device, then click to be connected directly, rather than plodding through the menus step-by-step. What’s more, Fonolo’s Intelligent Call History feature tracks all the calls a user makes to a particular company, no matter which phone he or she uses, and automatically organises them along with notes and recordings.

Fonolo has developed proprietary technology that automatically “spiders” IVR systems, in the same sort of way Web spiders search the web and bring you search results. It’s the ‘Google of the phone system’, so to speak.

Thus a database of the numbers that consumers typically call is built up. This “map of phonespace,” a dataset that has never been built before, powers Deep Dialing and Fonolo’s other innovative features.

The process is simple. A user starts by finding the company he needs on the Fonolo Web site, then visually scans through the phone menu and clicks on the appropriate point. Fonolo will then dial the company, navigate the phone system and call the user’s phone. When the user answers, he will be connected to the desired point in the menu. Furthermore, the user can bookmark this point inside the menu so that in the future, it is only a click away.

Excellent! There’s a closed Beta Test going on now, but take a trip to www.fonolo.com for the details.