Jamie Thomson

Thoughts, about stuff

Comment: Live Search for Mobile

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As announced on Live With Phil (the blog of Phil Holden) earlier this week Live Search for Mobile will soon be getting an overhaul. There are a few new features coming along:

  • Map your contacts.  For any people that are in your contact list (with their address obviously)  you will have the ability to map their location and then get easy directions to them.
  • Live Collection support. If you have created your own custom maps of locations and events on the PC you can now access them on your mobile phone.
  • Weather.  Its a mobile phone and where better to have access to the latest weather information including a 4 day forecast
  • Added Web Search.  This client service has been designed for the local scenario but obviously there are times when you need to find information from the broader web so that’s now included.

Added web search is a nice-to-have so I’m pleased with that. Weather was also a no-brainer given existing functionality but again, nice-to-have.

Map Your Contacts sounds very useful but I don’t understand why this is being touted as a new feature given that you can do this today. To prove it, below is a video I recorded a few minutes ago on the existing version of Live Search for Mobile. You will see that I am able to select one of my contacts (in this case my local doctor) and retrieve the address for use in Live Search for Mobile. [If you’re reading this in a newsreader then you might not be able to see the video in which case go here instead]

Perhaps the new feature they are talking about enables you to launch Live Search for Mobile straight from your address book although if this is true then they are only playing catch-up as we have been able to do this on Google Maps for Mobile (GMM) for sometime now, at least since 26th June 2007 when I published this comparison of Live Search for Mobile and GMM. In there you will see a screenshot of this capability in GMM.

I’m very pleased with the new Live Collection support. I asked (via the Live Search Mobile team’s email address) for this feature back in Summer 2007 and I’m delighted that its now been included. This is the first feature in Live Search for Mobile that makes use of the Windows Live ID and I hope to see much more in the future. For example, storing driving directions as a collection and then viewing them in Live Search for Mobile would be very very useful indeed.

All in all this looks like being a good update but as always I’m left with questions:

  • Why are USA and UK the only supported countries?
  • Why does the UK only get a subset of features?
  • Why will the voice integration that Phil talked about recognise non-american accents?
  • When will be able to triangulate our location from mobile phone masts? This feature was launched in GMM in November 2007 with some noticeable fanfare.

The continued indifference to the world outside the USA is particularly irksome. Are there are efforts underway to sort this out? If so, there isn’t any sign of it yet.

-Jamie

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Written by Jamiet

April 5, 2008 at 3:56 pm

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