RealTime IT News

Lycos Answers the Call

Lycos Inc. Thursday entered into an agreement with wireless application service provider Mobilee Inc. to develop its forthcoming voice-powered portal.

Lycos intends to launch the Web entranceway before the end of the year. The new voice portal is designed to provide telephone users with free access to the Lycos network of Web sites by simply dialing a local access number and speaking into a mobile phone.

Users will be able to check stock prices, weather reports, movie listings, and just about everything else any Web user can find at Lycos, from a single phone call.

In tandem with building its voice-powered portal, Lycos also launched its Web casting and voice chat services available today, providing users with a collaborative online communication experience.

Lycos' voice portal is powered by Mobilee's telecom infrastructure and voice interface technology that acts as guide for users to access information from Lycos' wireless application protocol-fed content.

Mobilee, formerly known as Shoutmail.com, has developed advanced speech recognition technology that eliminates fumbling with keypads to type out commands on a WAP-friendly device. The voice-activated service delivers information as streaming audio, rather than text-based messages.

Users will have the option to develop a customized Web profile using the "My Lycos" personalization platform, so that they can rapidly access the information they choose as most relevant.

Ron Sege, Lycos executive vice president said the new voice portal is one way that Lycos' "Anywhere" wireless platform is rapidly changing the way users access Web information.

"Mobilee's technology platform is the best available anywhere, and we're excited to be working together with them to make the Web more accessible than ever before," Sege said.

Jacob Guedalia, Mobilee president and chief executive officer, said Lycos is in the vanguard of the Web-to-phone revolution.

"We are excited about our multi-phase relationship with Lycos. Lycos has long been in the vanguard of Web portals," Guedalia said. "Now, powered by Mobilee's content delivery network, we are capable of creating high-value 'mobile minutes' for consumers and telecom carriers alike."

The new Lycos voice portal provides Web access to many groups who until now, have had limited access to Internet contend. Lycos believes that the voice-powered service can serve in part as a bridge that spans the "Digital Divide."

While non-computer owners in remote areas of the U.S. may not benefit from wireless access to Web sites, inner-city residents may take advantage of relatively inexpensive mobile phone access to Lycos content.

In addition to providing non-computer owners with the means to access the Web, visually impaired Web users will also benefit from Lycos' audio-based navigation services.

Michael Sylvie, American Foundation for the Blind Internet project manager, is in the process of re-vamping its Web site with Sylvie added that the "Lycos voice portal would open the door for millions of visually-impaired users to hear Web content, providing access to new information resources for the blind."

Lycos intends to fund its free Voice Portal with revenues from advertisers