Over the past few weeks, I've found myself using two services a lot on my mobile phone, and when I talk about them at conferences people tend to "oooh" and "ahhh"...so I thought I'd post about them here, as well.
The first is one I thought most people knew about, but I'm finding that's not true. It's Google's "411" service for automated directory assistance. You call 800-GOOG-411, and are prompted for city, state, and business name or type. It then gives you a list of matches, and you tell it which item on the list is the one you want. Then they connect you. There's no charge for this at all, which makes it a whole lot better than the phone company's directory assistance. And the voice recognition quality is very good.
The second service I'm enamored with is also based on voice recognition. It's called Jott, and when you call their number it listens to your message and transcribes it for you. You can have it send the resulting text to you or a contact via email or SMS. You can even have it send the text to a web service like Twitter, Remember the Milk, or your blog. It's ideal for times when you say to yourself "I need to remember to..." but you don't have your computer or a notepad handy. The voice recognition is really amazing, and it will let you spell out words that it might not interpret correctly. This evening, for example, I called it and had this exchange:
Me: Dials Jott (voice dial on my phone, so this can all be done via headset)
Jott: Hi! Who would you like to Jott?
Me: Myself (I could say "Twitter" or a contact name here instead)
Jott: Go ahead!
Me: Remember to call Wolk W-O-L-K Manor M-A-N-O-R about dinner plans.
Jott: Got it. Want a reminder?
Jott: Thursday, May 29th. Got it. What time?
Jott: am or pm?
Jott: Got it.
Then I hung up. A few minutes later, an email appeared in my inbox that had the text of my message, and the scheduled time for the reminder. Tomorrow morning I'll get both a text message and an email at 9am, reminding me that I need to call about dinner plans with my grandmother. Nice, huh?