Ask’s Mobile WAP site has added voice to the process of getting directions. The voice-activated service is provided by Dial Directions. On the mobile Ask site, next to the “Directions” link you’ll find a new “Voice Entry” link. That sends users to the Dial Directions phone number (347-328-4667) or initiates a phone call. Users then verbally provide the requested location and destination information. The service sends a text link that opens a WAP page with a map and turn-by-turn directions. Dial Directions also has the capacity to provide text-only directions that don’t require mobile browser access.
Here are some screenshots:
The underlying Dial Directions service is very good and easy to use, and Ask is the first of the major engines to offer WAP-based voice-search for directions. Live Search for mobile (the downloadable application) offers embedded voice for local search, but not for directions. InfoSpace FindIt (now part of Superpages) has voice output for turn-by-turn directions; so does the Mapquest Navigator client. And of course, the free directory assistance alternatives, to varying degrees, represent voice-enabled local mobile search.
Dial Directions may equally try and “white label” its service to others, so there may be similar offerings in the future.
Here’s a short video demo of the new service on Ask: