Since their acquisition of TellMe back in March 2007, mobile search experts have expected Microsoft to develop a voice-activated search function. Today they have announced just that, with the release of three new updates for Live Search Mobile.
The first and most important update comes in the form of Voice Input. Windows Mobile users can activate the service by pressing the lower left soft-key on their handset and saying what they want to search for. Microsoft uses advanced voice recognition technology, most likely acquired from TellMe, to understand what the user is looking for, and delivers results accordingly.
Other improvements to Live Search Mobile announced today include the ability to use local search to find gas (petrol) prices nearby, a new beta version of Live Search Mobile for Blackberry devices, improvements to the mapping function and delivery of details direct to the search results page for frequently searched topics such as weather, stock quotes and movie times.
Improvements to the Live Maps Mobile are very user-friendly. Microsoft has probably been doing a lot of user search research or listening to feedback from their loyal users. The updated map function is easier to read on mobile devices, provides driving directions that include consideration for severe traffic congestion and provide the names of the final cross streets to prevent users driving too far.