When you’re lost, in need of serious directions, there are but a few limited options to help you get on the right path. You can drive aimlessly in zig zags, scouting the local landscape for the least threatening local. Or, you can quickly whip out your map, get down to a confusing round of connect the dots. Or if you’re the elite group of GPS users, you can push some buttons and pray you get a signal. Luckily, for the rest of us you can always dial your directions.
Officially released to the public on July 16, Dial Directions begins its service today in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and New York with the promise of turning a cell phone into a GPS and search-enabled device. Staying true to their name, Dial Directions does just that, allowing the user to get driving directions delivered to your cell phone via a text message.
Dial (347) 328-4667, or “Directions” spelled on a keypad, from any phone that can send or receive text messages, answer a few quick questions about where you are and where you’re going and within a few seconds a step by step text message is delivered to your phone. Luckily, you don’t need a smart phone to use the service. Any phone, from a 10-year-old Nokia to a shiny new blackberry, will do.
Sound like a gimmick? Maybe, after all the company website tells you to “Dial, Say and Receive”, which seems all too easy.
No longer will I have to scout gas stations for local with a full set of teeth? As I mocked these lofty promises with skepticism, I picked up my phone and “Dialed” some “Directions”.
Immediately, a lovely but computerized voice asked me a few, crystal clear questions. I gave the locations of two intersections in Seaford, New York, a suburb of New York City. At the end of the 20 second call, I received a text message with step by step instructions. That looked like this:
Go S on Jackson Ave Toward Sunrise Hwy (0.01)L @ Sunrise Hwy (0.2)
R @ Washington Ave (0.2)
End @ Raymond
First off, Dial Directions is hands down the best voice recognition system I have ever used. I did not have to repeat myself (and I purposely talked like William Shatner to test it) or hear the dreaded “invalid input, please repeat your selection” that is common to most others. Second, the message came to my phone in about a second and gave me directions anyone under 90 will understand. After the initial test, I tried it 3 more times with directions of increasing complexity and every time I actually “Wowed” out loud at the result.
Currently the technology is only available for those cities and their surrounding areas with no release date set for additional territories. Another added feature of this system is the ability to find chain stores like 7-11’s Rent A Car, Gas stations and of course, Starbucks.
There is no setup fee for this service and outside of your cell phone provider’s charges, there’s no cost for getting information via text message. Aside from text messaging skills that make any text happy teeny bopper cower in shame, Dial Directions are easy to follow and make the experience of getting from point A to Point B, without a map, that much cooler.
Check out the company website at www.dialdirections.com