One thing about being a newcomer to the US is it's very easy to get lost and confused.

Getting around I'm learning to live with the foibles of my GPS but finding local businesses can be an interesting challenge.

Most of the 411 (information) services I've tried either cost money or make me listen to an ad, and I've not been especially impressed.

Then I discovered that Microsoft Research run their own 411 service at 425-727-2321 if you're local or 877-MSFT-411 (877-673-8411). Remember that as a research project it's not always commercial strength but it accesses the power of Live search so it's pretty high quality.

Then recently we acquired TellMe who brought their 411 service with them. Just dial 1-800-555-TELL and say “Business Search”.  You can get a number and map sent to your phone via SMS. They've also got an app that runs on your phone that you can use to query the service - also a free download

Also available from Microsoft Research is a service offering real time traffic / gas prices / weather / and stock prices (The first three are currently only available in Washington State) - just dial 877-MSFT-511 (877 673 8511) to check it out (with the caveats about Research projects from above).

And don't forget Windows Live Search for Mobile which gives you business searches, maps and more all in the palm of your hand.