On May 14, Ask announced Ask Mobile GPS, which it describes as a “GPS-enabled lifestyle application” (uh-huh) which hooks up Ask, Citysearch and Evite. I enthusiastically went to http://gps.ask.com to check it out.
There are some screen shots on the site, and they look great — search Citysearch from your phone, get walking and driving directions around town (with voice prompts) and even, if you’re into it, broadcast your location to folks in your contact list (Twitter gone frighteningly 3D).
The enormous downer unfortunately is that Ask Mobile GPS is available for a very limited number of phones — so limited I’m surprised it’s even been released. I consider my phone to be pretty good, and it wasn’t on Ask’s lists. I don’t get to try it.
Ask is taking a different tack from other search engines by actually offering this as a fee-based service — $9.99 for a two-week trial period. (Plans are in the works for a $2.99/mo version with less features.) It’s a refreshing change from search engines that offer everything for free, confident that advertising will cover it (maybe it will, but such thinking gives me 1999 flashbacks). I think they’ll need more phone models to make it work.