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Tellme Unveils Mobile Search At Web 2.0

Inching ever closer to a voice-enabled Internet, Tellme Networks on Tuesday unveiled a new free mobile application for local business search.

The new hosted service now gives callers three ways to use voice commands to find phone numbers, business listings, maps, and even driving directions. In addition to calling a 1-800 number (1-800-555-TELL) or text messaging TELLM (83556), the new service dubbed Tellme by Mobile lets you speak your request and then see the results displayed on your phone screen.

For example, a business request such as "Starbucks San Francisco Ca" or "Pizza Boston Ma" returns a listing and a link to a map.

The company has a current beta download for testing -- Internet-enabled phones can navigate to The final version release date hasn't been named. The company is demonstrating its service at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco this week.

The new service comes barely a month since Tellme announced its acquisition by Microsoft. The development of the project came months before talks between the two companies became public. If the service takes off, it will certainly add to the value of Microsoft's purchase and will fit nicely into its new mantra of "Web 2.0 or Bust."

As one of the first companies to tap into the business of voice-enabled applications, Tellme has had success in transferring short phrases into search results. The company said it answers nearly 80% of the automated 411 calls in the United States and handles two billion calls a year for 40 million Americans every month from different Tellme customers, which use the service to cut back on phone directory costs.

Tellme says its success so far is based on understanding what people search for on the phone, and how they want to receive the information.

"Web searches are often for browsing, but phone searches are about completing tasks and quickly finding what you want, connecting to it, and completing a transaction, whether it's ordering a pizza, buying flowers, or purchasing a movie ticket," said CEO Mike McCue.

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