Say Where brings voice recognition to iPhone apps

Forthcoming iPhone app from Dial Directions aims to give users a way to get information from sites like Yelp, MapQuest and others by speaking instead of typing.

Daniel Terdiman Former Senior Writer / News
Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.
Daniel Terdiman
2 min read
Say Where, an iPhone app from Dial Directions, aims to give iPhone users the ability to employ speech recognition to get information from services like Yelp and MapQuest. Dial Directions

If you've spent any time using iPhone apps, you probably have gotten a hint of the fact that they may well be the hottest thing going and, in some ways, the future of software.

That's largely due to the fact that, especially with iPhone 3G, the device combines GPS, an elegant interface, Mac OS X, an accelerometer and high-speed Internet connectivity.

Now, Dial Directions, a company that has focused on providing speech recognition tools to cell phone users, is getting in the iPhone game.

And on Monday, the company announced at DemoFall its Say Where iPhone app, a tool that allows owners of the device to use their voice to get information from several online service providers specializing in geographical information.

Dial Directions will continue to add partners, but it is starting out by giving iPhone users the ability to employ speech recognition with services like MapQuest, Yellow Pages, Ask.com, Yelp, and Traffic.com.

The idea is simple: you launch the Say Where app, which is expected to be free from Apple's App Store--when it is approved, which Dial Directions hopes will be soon--and then, when prompted, say an address or business name that you're looking for.

Then, you choose which service you want to use--Yelp, say, for reviews of the restaurant that you named--and finally, the results should appear a moment later.

Or, by speaking an address and using MapQuest, directions would appear, aided by the fact that the iPhone's GPS chip tells the service where you are starting from.

The point is to allow users to get the information they want without having to use their hands--much--to get it. So, by using Say Where, iPhone owners should be able to get information they're looking for while driving, for example, without having to focus on the iPhone's screen in order to type in the name of the business or the address they're looking for.

Say Where is an open application that Dial Directions hopes will lure in many other service providers. And that has a lot to do with its business model for the application, which is to get revenue by partnering with those companies and, ideally, incorporating the application into their services.

It's too early to tell if the application will be a success. But it has a lot of potential, especially given that there could be many more service providers linked to the app down the line.