Moviefone Learns to Listen: Now You Can Shout Back and Stop Punching Keys
Croal, N'Gai, Newsweek
When Moviefone debuted 11 years ago, it was a low-tech solution to a century-old problem: how to get movie tickets without the hassle of standing in line. Since then, the ubiquitous, easy-to-remember phone number (777-FILM) and the boisterous voice ("Hello and welcome to Moviefone!") have been drilled into the consciousness of millions of filmgoers. So when America Online bought Moviefone last year, we figured it was only a matter of time before the service got a technology upgrade.
Last week AOL Moviefone added speech recognition to its New York City and New Jersey locations, with plans to roll it out to more than 35 major markets over the course of the next year. To try it out, we called up the service, pressed a key to get to the movie selection menu that shouts, "please say the name of the movie you would like to see now," and replied "Frequency." Moviefone then asked us to say our ZIP code; once we did, the service started to read us a list of nearby theaters and showtimes. …