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Surfing the Net With Your Phone Has Its Hang-ups

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, May 11, 2000

Surfing the net with your phone. The promise is often better than the performance. What we're talking about are new services that let you pick up a phone, wired or wireless and tap into the wealth of information on the Web using your voice. I've tried a few with mixed results. One of the newest is 888TelSurf.com...

"TelSurf is a telephone service that offers popular Internet content in an audio format over the telephone without charge to the caller and it's also a toll free call. Everything is speech activated. You log in with your ID, TelSurf asks you what you want to do and you give it the command with your voice."

TelSurf VP Ken Guy. I signed up and here's what happened when I tried to get the score of a ballgame...

"Sports"

"Did you say sports?"

"Yes"

"You're in sports. Would you like pro scoreboard or sports news?"

"Pro scoreboard."

"Which team would you like?"

"Yankees."

"Did you say... repeat?"

"New York Yankees."

"I'm sorry. I couldn't tell if you said yes or no. Did you say... repeat?"

"No."

"My mistake. You're in pro scoreboard. Please say your request again."

Who's on first? What's on second. Oh well. TelSurf is designed to do a lot more. Read you your stock portfolio, email, calendar. I'll give it another shot down the road to see if it works any better. You can find more info on services that can save you time and money at our home on the Web, ThirdAge.com. Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin for CBS News.