Ask.com today introduced new voice-activated capabilities to its Ask.com Mobile Directions service, dubbed “Click to Speak.”
Click to Speak lets Ask.com Mobile users speak their location and desired destination to receive directions on mobile devices.
Ask.com says that Click to Speak “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. ”
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.
Google has 1-800-411-GOOG, Yahoo has OneSearch, but Ask.com’s Click to Speak is more of a hybrid of the two, mixing the web search experience with voice recognition. When testing it out, the first thing I noticed that when selecting the Click to Speak button on Ask.com Mobile, the service dials a 347 area code number. I’m more used to 1-800 or other toll free numbers for these services, so I was a bit surprised by the area code usage. Why 347 and not a more branded and memorable number in case I want to dial again without relying on my mobile web access connection?
I then gave Ask.com my target location, and my start location, and they text messaged me my directions, or a link to my directions. I did not have any problems with the voice activation, as it understood my requests quite sharply. The directions themselves are hosted at DialDirections.com, but on an Ask.com branded page.
Again, this service could be quite useful, especially when driving. I’ve used 1-800-411-GOOG in the past to find businesses in New York and when on the go, and Yahoo Local is my direction engine of choice because they text the directions to mobile phones. But given a mix of the two, if I was on the run and needed directions pronto, and did not want to type, Ask.com’s and Dial Directions’ Click to Speak would be a very strong option.