One of many companies launching at DEMO this week is Say Where from DialDirections. Say Where hopes to make its mark by offering voice input locations and directions generated by speaking an address or city into an iPhone 3G. By doing this Say Where brings basic pre-programmed GPS destination functionality to the iPhone 3G.
If you have used any basic GPS system, you know that pre-programmed destinations are par for the course. There is a selection included in any GPS worth its salt of nearby gas stations, movie theaters, restaurants and other points of interest. The drawback to these is that they don’t change dynamically as businesses succeed or fail. They could be outdated at any moment without real time data feedback.
If you have an iPhone, you already have all of the real time Web-based destination information you could want. Coupled with the ability to get directions and mark your place with drop pin and bookmark, iPhone users already have more flexibility than this program appears to offer at first blush. If I had to choose between getting more reliable and up to date information from the iPhone Web interface, or possibly outdated pre-programmed information from Say Where, I’m going to have to choose the Internet until Say Where includes real data.
One of Say Where’s pitch points is voice capability. It’s nice to speak into the iPhone and get results, especially if you have trouble with the touch screen keyboarding. in the end, what good is convenience or cool software if it gives you potentially useless data? This is a good idea, but it needs more.
Perhaps I am judging this application too quickly and should be more excited about having access to data like nearby destinations, points of interest, recommendations and reviews with simple voice commands. Unfortunately, I just can’t seem to get excited about it. If it offered a way to get real time data and merge it with true GPS functionality, I’d be more excited. however, with the availability of the DASH GPS, I’m not seeing a need for Say Where right now, since DASH already does pretty much everything that I want in a real time, Internet connected GPS interface.
However, if the most you can say about your new iPhone App is that it uses voice commands and won’t cost users a phone call when retrieving the data they request, I’d recommend adding more features to really make it noteworthy. As it stands, when I want unbiased data on the iPhone 3G from voice commands I’ll just dial 1-800-GOOG-411 and either get the answer on the phone or have them SMS me. If I want similar functionality I can use programs like Nearby or Infospace. Meanwhile, if Say Where were to introduce real data instead of canned data, it would become ten times more useful.