After posting about Google’s mobile search query study earlier today, I started thinking about voice-activated mobile web search.
Imagine yourself driving to a meeting but lacking some critical information about a person, place, or company. Typing, texting, or reading while driving is dangerous and potentially deadly, but voice-activated search frees up your hands and eyes for more important things like keeping your car between the lines.
My original “want” was a mobile solution for a voice-activated Wikipedia search that reads information back to you over the phone. Unlike a mobile 411 service (such at GOOG-411), this would return more than just an address and phone number. It could read back details about any topic in Wikipedia and allow for skipping around within articles.
I found a few solutions that fit one criteria or another, although there are no perfect solutions yet.
Yahoo! oneSearch with voice
- BlackBerry Pearl (8100 series)
- BlackBerry Curve (8300 series)
- BlackBerry 8800 series
All you iPhone, Treo, and conventional phone users are out of luck!
Additionally, it only returns search results in text format in your phone’s browser. This doesn’t satisfy the completely hands-free solution that I am thinking about.
Has anybody used oneSearch with voice? Please leave a comment and let me know if/how well it works.
Another promising solution is Phonepedia . In the developer’s own words,
This simply combines two cool things: Wikipedia’s vast encyclopedic content and Jott’s voice recognition service. All I’ve done is make enough glue to put them together and allow us all to call up and get answers. It’s not perfect, but it’s worth playing with.
It requires creating an account with Jott, which I don’t have time to do right now. Similar to the Yahoo! oneSearch product, the results are returned via SMS and email so it’s not completely hands-free either.
Any Phonepedia users out there? Do you have any feedback?
Google Mobile Search App
The Google Mobile Search App supposedly works with my Blackberry and several other types of smart phones but I could not get the download to work, either by requesting the SMS message or visiting m.google.com. Either way, it is still only a voice-in, text-out solution. I’ll have to hold off on the review for another day when it decides to work.
TellMe from Microsoft Windows Mobile
TellMe is an upcoming voice-activated search interface for Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.5+ users. I haven’t been able to sample this service yet either because the BlackBerry beta version doesn’t include the Storm 9530, but based on the examples on their site it does seem to satisfy some of the voice-in, voice-out search capabilities that I am looking for.
So far it seems to be the most promising entrant yet and I’m looking forward to trying it out. If you’ve used TellMe, please tell me! Leave a comment with your feedback.