Alameda, Calif. — Dial Directions, which lets users call for free directions from a cellphone, is expanding its service into six new markets, for a total of nine service areas, including Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Sacramento, San Diego, Washington, San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles.
The service expects to go nationwide within the next few months.
Users dial DIR-ECT-IONS — (347) 328-4667 — and announce their starting location (by intersection or address) and their destination. The service then sends an instant text message with turn-by-turn directions. The user is charged only the standard carrier fee for a text message. At the end of the text, the viewer also sees a text advertisement. The directions are provided by MapQuest.com.
Dial Directions claims to provide the only free service of its kind offering instant directions and claims to use a proprietary combination of speech recognition and voice user interface to make the service possible.
“People have tried this in the past but the speech recognition was not as good,” said Amit Desai, co-founder, who notes that the founding team for Dial Directions came from the speech-recognition industry.
Desai adds, “We want this to be the basic service everyone users when they need directions.”
Users can also ask for the nearest Starbucks or Home Depot, or restaurant or gas station, from a list of hundreds of chains.
The company also announced an “event” feature for its service where the producer of an event — such as a festival — can refer people to Dial Directions for directions and additional information.