Posts Tagged ‘Free’


Tech Biz  :  IT   

How Can Directory Assistance Be Free?

By Chris Anderson  02.25.08 | 12:00 AM

AT&T and its competitors rake in $7 billion a year from directory assistance, charging 50 cents to $1.75 per call. Google, on the other hand, offers its automated GOOG-411 service gratis. How can the search juggernaut afford not to charge?

A) Get free data. Each time callers to GOOG-411 request a phone number, they’re giving Google valuable information. Each call provides voice data representing unique variations in accent, phrasing, and business names that Google uses to improve its service. Estimated market value of that data since the service launched last spring: $14 million. B) Invest in the next big thing. Still, the value of that information hardly compares with potential earnings if Google were to charge $1 per call. Why give away the store? Honcho Peter Norvig has said that GOOG-411 is a test bed for a voice-driven search engine for mobile phones. If it serves ads to those phones, Google’s share of that market could be measured in billions. 

Chart: Steven Leckart; Chart design: Nicholas Felton; Sources: Jingle Networks, Linguistic Data Consortium, Opus Research

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How Can Air Travel Be Free?

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How Can Air Travel Be Free?

By Chris Anderson Email 02.25.08 | 12:00 AM

Chart: Steven Leckart; Chart design: Nicholas Felton; Sources: Inviseomedia, Ryanair

Every year, about 1.3 million passengers fly from London to Barcelona. A ticket on Dublin-based low-cost airline Ryanair is just $20 (10 pounds). Other routes are similarly cheap, and Ryanair’s CEO has said he hopes to one day offer all seats on his flights for free (perhaps offset by in-air gambling, turning his planes into flying casinos). How can a flight across the English Channel be cheaper than the cab ride to your hotel?

A) Cut costs: Ryanair boards and disembarks passengers from the tarmac to trim gate fees. The airline also negotiates lower access fees from less-popular airports eager for traffic. B) Ramp up the ancillary fees: Ryanair charges for in-flight food and beverages; assesses extra fees for preboarding, checked baggage, and flying with an infant; collects a share of car rentals and hotel reservations booked through the Web site; charges marketers for in-flight advertising; and levies a credit-card handling fee for all ticket purchases. C) Offset losses with higher fares: On popular travel days, the same flight can cost more than $100.

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Shariff Masood

Senior IT Professional

see all my answers

Best Answers in: Planning (1)

My two cents –

Get the government out of this business! Let Free Enterprise rule!

Get BroadBand to every one or something better!

All else will follow!

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