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Has the wireless Web met its match?

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This story appears in the December 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Now that voice portals have arrived, you make the call: Are they merely a slight improvement over frustrating voice mail, or will they emerge as a major new medium that rivals the wireless Web?

Voice-activated services such as BeVocal (800-4-B-VOCAL) and Tellme Networks (800-555-TELL) have launched nationwide networks, providing voice-recognition menus where spoken keywords summon sound bites in either text-to-speech synthesis or recorded audio. Staples include news, sports, weather, stocks, traffic updates and movie listings. Some services offer driving directions, horoscopes, personalization features and even text-to-speech e-mail. But voice portals aren't really portals at all. Rather, they're designed to provide snippets from a fairly limited selection of major content sources.

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