April 4, 2008, 12:00 AM

Yahoo and Vlingo partner to offer voice-enabled mobile search

Mobile phone users conducting Internet searches via Yahoo’s mobile web site, Yahoo oneSearch, now can bypass entering data via mobile device keyboards and instead speak their search queries into their phones.

Mobile phone users conducting Internet searches via Yahoo Inc.’s mobile web site, Yahoo oneSearch, now can bypass entering data via mobile device keyboards and instead speak their search queries into their phones.

The new search method is the result of a partnership between Yahoo and vlingo Corp., a vendor of voice recognition technology designed for use on the mobile web. Mobile phone users with access to the mobile web can download vlingo software for free by sending a text message to the company, following instructions at vlingo.com. Once the software is downloaded, it recognizes the vlingo-enabled text box on Yahoo oneSearch. Users can click on the text box to launch voice entry as opposed to data entry.

“By integrating vlingo speech recognition technology into Yahoo oneSearch, we’re taking mobile search to the next level and enabling consumers to get the answers they want by simply speaking into their mobile phones,” says Steve Boom, senior vice president, Connected Life, at Yahoo.

The launch comes on the heels of vlingo securing $20 million in its second round of financing. Led by Yahoo, the round also included existing investors Charles River Ventures and Sigma Partners. Vlingo says it will use the capital to fuel international expansion and continue its product research and development. As part of the investment, a Yahoo executive, yet to be named, will join vlingo’s board of directors.

“We have been thrilled by the market interest in vlingo since our beta launch last year, providing confirmation of the technology we have developed,” says Dave Grannan, vlingo president and CEO. “We have aggressive expansion plans over the next year that will take vlingo overseas and across a broad range of mobile phones here in the U.S. We’re eager to leverage Yahoo’s expertise and reach as we execute against this strategy.”

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