YPMobile Gets Voice Search

AT&T Interactive has added voice search to its YPMobile app. The speech technology comes out of AT&T Interactive labs, which previously released the quasi-experimental "Speak4It" local search app.

In my brief testing this morning I found the app does well with traditional business name and category queries. There were no mistakes. But it doesn't do well with "semantic" queries such as "What's going on this weekend for kids?" That sort of search is the specialty of "personal assistant" Siri, which does a good job with unstructured queries. 

In fairness to the YP Mobile app, most people have been trained to use voice search to do a version of directory assistance-style lookups. And for those it will do fine. There are now at least 10 voice search-driven local apps in the iTunes app store from Nuance, Google, Vlingo, Microsoft, AT&T and others.  

Voice search will at some point be a mandatory part of any local-mobile search tool. 

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I also expect that at some point AT&T will offer a Buzz.com mobile app. It would be intriguing and useful if voice were integrated into that hypothetical app.