First we had Web sites. Then suddenly, everyone was calling their site a portal to conjure up the notion that you could start off each day on the Web on their site and ostensibly get or get to any information you need.
Now there are voice-driven portals, which use a novel technology that is faster and more reliable than the Internet-the telephone.
At TellMe (800-555-TELL), you can call and ask for information on local restaurants, movies, driving instructions, travel, stock quotes, news, traffic, and weather, as well as entertainment topics such as horoscopes.
At BeVocal.com (800-4-BVOCAL), you can get flight information, use the business finder, or access traffic, weather, stock quotes, news, and the like.
Yahoo! by Phone (800-MY-YAHOO) takes Voice Portals a step further. Not only do you receive text-to-speech voice delivery of your basic online content like the rest, you can also get text-to-speech delivery of your Yahoo! e-mail. Now that's sure convenient when you can't get to the Internet but need to access your e-mail.
As the growing need to access data immediately reaches new heights, voice portals are useful, particularly when you travel. Give them a call.
Aliza Sherman is an entrepreneur and author of Cybergrrl: A Woman's Guide to the World Wide Web (Ballantine Books). She is currently working on her next book and new company.