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Those sneaky dastards! The reality behind Google's mysterious free 411 service is far more insidious than we could have imagined. The conspiracy theories ran rampant: We even wondered if it was a way to test the effectiveness of Google-brokered billboard ads! But no. According to Google VP Marissa Mayer, it's actually a way to record our voices and get inside our heads. The horror!

Says Mayer:

The reason we really did it is because we need to build a great speech-to-text model.

That's right. GOOG-411 is free — as in free labor for Google. If you want to dial a local pizzeria that badly, you're going to have to volunteer to train Google's speech recognition software. Mayer suggests that all this talk will be put towards projects like video search. Great. All this so we can find Robert Scoble whiteboard videos on YouTube. (Photo by Gaetan Lee)