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January 04, 2008

Ask.com Mobile Launches Speech-Activated Directions

by Darla Mack

Ask.com announced in a press release that it has added voice activated capabilites to its mobile directions service.  This includes driving and walking directions.  Pretty cool huh and best of all its free.  Of course carrier charges apply, but I think we all know now what free means.

Ask Mobile with Dial Directions from xbrendanx on Vimeo.

OAKLAND, Calif., January 3, 2008 - Ask.com today introduced free(1) voice-activated capabilities to its Ask.com Mobile Directions service, the first of its kind from a search engine. Called "Click to Speak," the new feature lets people simply speak their location and desired destination to receive directions on their web-enabled mobile devices. Easy to use, it eliminates typing addresses, which can be slow, error-prone and, in some cases, unsafe. Available immediately, "Click to Speak" incorporates unique technology from Dial Directions, the leading provider of voice-activated location-based services.

"Voice input is one more way Ask.com Mobile helps searchers find exactly what they are looking for faster and easier," said Doug Leeds, senior vice president of product management, Ask.com. "The new 'Click to Speak' service is quick, free and accurate, and makes getting driving or walking directions a breeze."

Voice In, Directions Out

Users of the Directions service on Ask.com Mobile will now see a new "Click to Speak" option. Clicking it, consumers are prompted to speak their location and their desired destination, either by specific address or closest intersection. Within seconds, they will receive a text message with a link to directions that can be viewed in either traditional list or turn-by-turn step format, with an additional option to switch between "Driving" or "Walking" routes.

"Voice input is a natural complement to the Ask.com Mobile Directions service," said Amit Desai, co-founder and chief product officer of Dial Directions (www.dialdirections.com). "Dial Directions' new spoken location interface technology offers a dramatic improvement over typing addresses on mobile devices. We look forward to a continued relationship with Ask.com as they look for new ways to further improve the mobile web search experience with Ask.com Mobile."

Click to Speak builds on the award-winning(2) features of Ask.com Mobile:

-- Unique Interface for Streamlined Searching: Designed to minimize thumb
    strokes, the Ask.com Mobile home page offers links to key mobile
    categories, making it easier to navigate to relevant results.

-- Instinctive Tools: Including Smart Answers, which provide shortcuts to
    answers and tools at the top of the search results page and Zoom Related
    Search, which provides conceptually-related suggestions to narrow or
    expand queries.

-- Platform Independent: Ask.com Mobile works on any mobile web browser so
    consumers don't have to worry about which carrier they are signed up with
    or which mobile device they have.

-- Nothing to Download: Ask.com Mobile does not require a download to get
    started, yet still offers features like street and aerial map views.

(1) Carrier and data charges may apply

(2) Webby Award: 2007 Best Mobile Site, 2007 People's Voice


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The 'ask-mobile' gps w/ voice navigation is free for the first 2 weeks only. After that it is by subscription $2.99 /month.

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