January 03, 2008

Ask.com Mobile: Voice-Activated Directions Show You the Way

We talk a lot around here about the Mobile Web and making mobile search faster, better. Admittedly, it's easy to get excited about the different features and capabilities of all the new pimped out devices, but at the core every mobile phone does one thing inherently well: transmit the human voice.

I am excited about our first step in integrating voice with Ask.com Mobile. Today, we've added a new option to our Directions service called Click to Speak. The feature lets Ask.com Mobile users enter addresses by speaking instead of keying them in. With just a click, users can activate a voice activated directions service and within seconds receive a text message with a link to directions.

The new capability incorporates technology from our East Bay neighbors, Dial Directions.

Here's how the new feature works:

1) Use your web-enabled mobile device to go to Ask.com (either http://www.ask.com or http://m.ask.com).

Step 1

2) Click the "Directions" link on the home page and click the "SPEAK your address" option.

Step 2

3) Hit the continue button to start the call and follow the voice prompts to speak your location and destination. You can use specific addresses or intersections.

Step 3

4) Almost instantly you will receive a text message with a link to your directions. You can view them in either a traditional list mode or turn-by-turn step format complete with visual cues.  You can also toggle between "driving" and "walking" routes.

It's that easy. No more mis-typing an address while on your way to that important business meeting! No more typing with your thumbs while trying to find your friend's birthday party!

Intrigued? Check out the video:

Ask Mobile with Dial Directions

Or better yet, try it out yourself.

Brendan Hallett
Product Manager
Ask.com Mobile

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December 20, 2007

The Year in Ask: 2007

A roller coaster of a year, all told, what with introducing a company-changing product (or two), some industry initiatives, and of course, some sort of Google thing. Plenty of great stuff to look back on. What sort of stuff, you might ask?



We got caught up in the robots.txt revolution side-by-side with Yahoo! and the Google.


Ask UK and Fallon took it to the streets of London with a secret, then not-so-secret viral campaign that resulted in one million new users in three months.



We scored the Webby Award for best mobile site AND the People's Voice Webby in the Mobile category. Doug Leeds' five-word acceptance speech: "San Dimas Highschool Football RULES!"


The tangy wholesomeness of Ask Mobile met the great tastes of Citysearch, Evite, and even a GPS service. Mobilicious.



Our big moment of 2007--swapping out our previous results page design with a three-column triptych that nestles content and media results right in next to the blue links.



For SES in our backyard, we came out in force, with multiple speakers, a big ol' booth, a Jim Lanzone keynote interview and a party where someone's arm got broken. Or sprained, I forget. I liveblogged SES SJ 2007, as did, oh, everyone else there.

SES 2007 San Jose Day One, Two, Three.


The University of Michigan gave us top marks in their American Customer Satisfaction Index. Which ain't hay.




On the plus side, The entire UK can now take advantage of our 3D-ified Maps & Directions. On the minus side, our London staff no longer has an excuse to be late for work.


Proof that if you have a good product, all you need to do is show it at work. The Ron Popeil philosophy paid off with great response & word-of-mouth.



We agreed to continue running Google Sponsored Listings on our network; in return, we opened up a briefcase the size of a couch and told Google, "Fill it." That's not how it happened but I like to think it was.



We announced our plans to do it back in July. And in December, we walked the walk and gave users control over their search privacy. A great way to round out the year.

Thanks to everyone for their support this year, and stick around--you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Ken Grobe
Product Content Manager

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May 13, 2007

Ask Mobile GPS: The Next Level of Local

Got a GPS-enabled Sprint phone? You lucky devils. Odds are that means you can get Ask Mobile GPS.

Ask Mobile GPS is the first interactive, GPS-enabled application that not only puts the best of Ask.com, Citysearch and Evite on your phone, but adds GPS to give your phone the kind of power and connectivity you'd expect from your computer. Predictive text and automatic suggestions make sure you get what you want with the fewest keystrokes possible.

Here's a mobile app that genuinely makes your life easier when you're away from home. Ask Mobile GPS is a genuine extension of everything you'd want a phone or a PDA to do. If you've been looking for a true "lifestyle application" (whether or not you'd ever use that term in public) for your mobile phone, well, you've found it.

Here, in brief, is what Ask Mobile GPS offers:

Share My Location




You can use Ask Mobile GPS to broadcast your location to anyone in your phone's address book. Don't know your location? No problem--Ask Mobile GPS does. Friend doesn't have Sprint? Also no problem. You can send them an SMS with a link to a map and driving directions.

















A simple name for a powerful service, Directions gives you audible driving (or walking) directions in real-time. It's a complete turn-by-turn navigation system that talks to you, so you can keep your eyes on the road. Navigate to restaurants, airports, and more. You can even save destinations to create your own personalized list of directions to favorite places.





Just what the title says: It's Citysearch on your phone. Find top-rated businesses closest to you, and read editorial and user reviews right from your phone. Plus, the GPS function will recommend other places, other neighborhoods, other possibilities, all near your current location.

My Evites




View your Evite invitations while you're out and about. Find out where the party is and who is going to be there. You'll never again have to print out directions to an Evite event!

Saved Places




Save your home address and any other favorite places, giving you instant shortcuts to your most used addresses.

Find out more about the service--including which Sprint phones support it and how to get started--at gps.ask.com. Expect to hear a lot more about this service in the coming days and weeks. And feel free to comment on it below!

--The Ask Mobile Team

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October 14, 2006

No BAD Karaoke Here – Just Great Search

The Ask.com team is having a great time in NYC this week at the DigitalLife consumer technology show. DigitalLife brings all the best products together from TVs, cameras, and printers to phones, games and, of course, Search.

In our booth, attendees are grabbing the extremely popular Ask.com bags, bidding against each other in our Search Game Show, testing out our brand new Ask.com Mobile, and learning how Ask.com really is making search better.

There is a lot of buzz and energy at the show, and honestly, some of the worst karaoke performances ever. Simon  was overheard saying, “Your performance was so bad that your singing should be illegal.” A few of us agreed: Leave Break Away to Kelly Clarkson  or consider singing lessons (or even signing lessons) before breaking out of the living room for the public stage.

All jokes aside, we are having a lot of fun. If you are in NYC this weekend, stop by and see us. You can’t miss us. We are right at the front the entrance of the show - after all, search is the gateway to everything that touches our digital lives.

The Ask.com DigitalLife Team

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October 12, 2006

Get out of my dreams. Get into my phone. Ask.com Mobile is here.

Have you ever heard something repeated so often during the day that you start hearing it in your sleep?  And then it plays over and over again so you can’t rest at all.

Well, for a while now my much-needed beauty rest has been disturbed by the question I keep hearing from many of you:

“Why can’t I search better on my mobile phone?
Why can’t I search better on my mobile phone?
Why can’t I search better on my mobile phone?”

Well guess what—I’m dumping out the chamomile tea, tossing out my Ambien and setting my alarm clock for noon tomorrow, because NOW YOU CAN!   

Today we are announcing Ask.com Mobile—a brand-new service specifically designed for searching the web from your phone.  Finally, your small screen and cramped keyboard won’t slow you down anymore.

Ask.com Mobile includes numbered shortcuts to access tools more quickly, remembers your recent queries so you don’t have to retype them, and “skweezes” web pages down to fit your phone’s screen so you can actually access and read them.

You’ll also find mobile-optimized Smart Answers and Zoom Related Search within our mobile web search results to help you find exactly what you are looking for as quickly and easily as possible. We’ve even made room for our popular Image Search, Weather and Area Code Lookup, Currency Conversion, Horoscopes, Time Zones, not to mention (ok, I just did) a link to Bloglines Mobile.

Last but not least, in order to help you find your way around, we’ve included our beloved Maps and Directions – including Walking Directions and Aerial Imagery – as well as Business Listings (with click-to-dial phone number display).

So break out your pink Razr or your new Chocolate phone and punch in mobile.ask.com (or just ask.com and we’ll know its you) and give it a try.  It’s what you’ve been asking for, all night long.

Emanuel Bettelheim,
Product Manager, Mobile

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