Surf the Web over the phone

Just what you've been waiting for, an Internet that talks back

A new "audio ISP" in the US is promising Web users that they will soon be able to experience all the joys of the Internet over the phone thanks to its new speech-recognition-based service.

InterSpeech claims that its users will not only be able to receive and send email via the telephone but also surf the Web using voice-recognition technology.

Using the service, called NetEcho, users will apparently just have to issue a command such as "Yahoo" or "email" over the phone and they will receive audio information translated from the Net-based service they want. It will even be possible to initiate e-commerce transactions using the new service.

NetEcho integrates voice-recognition, text-to-speech, telephone interface and multimedia technologies. It will be available for a fixed monthly rate from InterSpeech in the US from the first quarter of 2000.