Microsoft’s Tellme Launches Three New Mobile Search Services

SMS Text

Microsoft’s Tellme today is announcing new ways to search for information via the phone with voice recognition & text activated local business search by business name or category. According to TellMe their service answers nearly 80 percent of the automated 411 calls in the United States and handles two billion calls a year.

Google also offers a voice activated local business search offering it’s testing called 1-800-GOOG411 and Yahoo’s OneSearch for the Mobile offers incredibly user friendly results however does not use voice recognition as an input value for local search queries.

The new Tellme services include:

  • Tellme by Voice: Call 1-800-555-TELL and say “business search” to find a business listing or search for a particular category, such as “flower shops,” from any phone, including a map for the selected listing.
  • Tellme by Text: Send a text message to TELLM (83556) with a business request such as “starbucks san francisco ca” and get a text message back with the listing and a link to a map.
  • Tellme by Mobile : Speak requests and then see the results displayed on the mobile phone screen for a voice + visual search, including maps and driving directions.

Tellme mobile search

“Tellme’s vision for mobile search is simple — you should be able to just say what you want and get it,” said Mike McCue , Tellme’s CEO. “We want people to be able to search from any phone the way that works best for them. The phone was designed for speaking rather than typing, so we focus on the natural phone interface — your voice.”

More from the Tellme press release:

Tellme provides ubiquitous access, so everyone can quickly start searching by phone, for free. Callers can get information by calling 1-800-555-TELL from any phone. For times when you would prefer not to speak your query, sending a text message to TELLM (83556) gets you the information you need. For users who want to download a voice + visual application there is Tellme by Mobile . Users can speak a request and then select and view the results right on their mobile phone’s screen. This is especially useful for driving directions and other hard to remember search results.

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker
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  • Rockyfied

    I guess the marketing advice, jump on a hot topic quickly applies here doesn’t it.

    For these other major search engines to get a peice of the market they needed to jump on this pretty fast.

    Really great post Loren. I wish I would have seen this before my goog 411 post ;-).

  • Mike

    These services aren’t new for Tellme although the press release makes them sound new. When the press release says “users now have 3 ways to access the service”, it means that this new local business search functionality (the only new thing here) can be used with all three of Tellme’s existing multi-modal search use cases (text in, voice in, and downloadable voice & visual search). But it’s important to note that these three search modes already existed.