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Say Where iPhone app lets you search the Web with your mouth

Search the Web with your voice using Excuse Me Services' Say Where iPhone app. Use it on Yelp, Yellowpages.com, Traffic.com and Google Maps.

Excuse Me Services (creators of Dial Directions) has finally made available its Say Where iPhone application which lets users search several popular Web services using just their voice. The tool was originally shown off at DemoFall back in early September, and it's taken this long to go through Apple's certification process.

Its big feature is that you can search Google Maps, Yellowpages.com, Yelp, and Traffic.com without having to use the iPhone's often times challenging on-screen keyboard. You simply talk into the microphone and it converts your speech into a search query. There's location awareness, so once the phone pinpoints where you are it will narrow what it's searching for. You can also have it start and end in different locations, which can be set by simply speaking into the microphone.

The one big problem I found with the application was the quality of the voice recognition. It managed to pick up city names just fine, but out of five attempts at specific addresses it only succeeded once, and it was on some very basic words like "center" and "main." I had far better luck simply saying intersections, which it pulled in with ease. It seems when you mix in numbers and street names it gets a little overwhelmed. It's also worth mentioning that I was doing this in a quiet part of an office building, which means it's going to have a harder time if you're out on a busy street.

Another issue is that this app requires too many button presses to make it worthwhile over a simple type-in search. It's been designed as a way to alleviate the need to pay attention to what you're doing, but you still need to go through two or three menus before you get to your result, which usually requires firing up another application--be it Safari or Google Maps. Ideally, you could set it to automatically jump to the recording with just one click after it's been launched, then open up those pages with an in-app maps tool or Webkit browser.

I filmed a quick demo of me using it below. You can also check out the official video here.