V-Enable ‘s mobile voice search — goes old school, with live operators

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Voice mobile search is hot. Yahoo, for example, just partnered with a startup called Vlingo, which claims to offer the most advanced mobile search technology. V-Enable, on the other hand, is offering a very different new feature: Live operators.

Other free voice search companies, such as the new 411 services — like Jingle Networks’ and Google’s — are completely automated. Now, however, if you’ve got a hard-to-understand accent or just hate dealing with automated systems, you can get a real person to help you (albeit for a small fee).

As of today, the San Diego-based startup’s FreeMobile411 service has now launched on the web, making it available on any web-enabled mobile device. (Previously, it was only accessible on some carriers, including Verizon, Alltell and MetroPCS.) The company is also touting the fact that it includes 140 million residential listings, not just business data.

With so many companies trying to develop cutting-edge technology in this area, I’m not sure if something as old school as a live operator will be a big hit, and V-Enable (which is funded for more than $20 million) isn’t disclosing how many calls it receives. But the company gets points for thinking outside the box.


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