MapQuest Audio Directions on Sprint-Nextel Network
Like InfoSpace, MapQuest is also launching voice (text to speech) turn-by-turn directions on the Sprint-Nextel network. Here’s today’s MapQuest announcement:
“MapQuest Navigator leverages Sprint’s leading edge location-based services platforms and GPS-enabled phones to acquire wireless device location information, letting subscribers take their navigation system with them at all times and get directions whether in a car, walking or cycling, or for other day-to-day needs. And since map directions are downloaded at the beginning of the route, Sprint customers can use the MapQuest Navigator service even if their journey takes them beyond network coverage, providing a continuous navigation experience. MapQuest Navigator helps people find places, view maps and provides directions while offering a whole new level of convenience when they need it most – on the go.”
The launch of very similar services on the same day from InfoSpace and MapQuest indicates a perception of user demand and growing competition to build substantially the same cluster of services based on that perception. Compare the similarity in much of the language and the way that MapQuest and InfoSpace describe their mobile local applications for consumers.
The demand for maps and directions (and related local information) in a moile environment is high. Telephia in July reported that MapQuest had the top dowloadable mobile application (based on revenue generated). In April of this year AOL and Pew conducted a mobile user survey, which found: “In 2006, the must-have feature is mobile mapping and directions, with nearly half of adults surveyed saying they would like to have these features at their fingertips.”
Here’s a much longer post I wrote about mobile directory assistance user data as a proxy for mobile local search demand and category interest.