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Lou Vega a thump to the brain
 
Pros:
  • Super Easy to use
  • Easy access to Gas prices and Movies for the local area
  • Speech enabled
  • Satellite imagery is more up to date
  • Turn-By-Turn directions interface is more intuitive than competitor’s options.
  • Integrated auto-updates for the application (menu notification turns active when updates are available)
Cons:
  • Traffic Info not available in my location
  • Getting directions from current GPS location isn’t as straightforward as it could be.
  • Could stand to have better integration among the parts of the program (see notes in the review)
  • Often stops updating imagery while driving.
  • Sometimes slow to get GPS location
  • Does not auto-detect GPS settings
One of the early comments posted on my review for Google Maps was asking about Live Search – well here it is! Despite my lengthy “cons” list above, I actually like the program, I just think some things could be done better…so let’s get on with the review.
 
Using Live Search is pretty easy. When you launch it you’re presented with options for Local Search Categories, Your Local Map, Directions, Traffic Conditions, Movie Times/Descriptions and Gas Prices. One of the neat features you notice from right here is a “Speak” menu which allows you to speak your search request in rather than type it or select it from the menu choices. In my testing with the speech portion of this application I found it to work well most of the time provided there wasn’t a lot of background noise. For example, one day when I was using outside, I happened to walk by a building generator as it kicked on. Another day it was pretty windy out and that was skewing the speech recognition results. I suspect however that for most people’s ordinary usage (i.e., while in the car, in your home, etc.) that it would work fine and it did work fine for me the rest of the time I was using it.
 
Of course I couldn’t wait to try the map portion of the app – especially wanting to see if it had more recent imagery for the aerial view than Google Maps did, and it does. You may remember when reading my review of the Google Maps that I noticed the white car in my driveway that I haven’t owned in over a year, the lack of my fence around my property and the fact that my church which had burned down over a year ago was still showing. Well using Live Search’s maps proved to be more recent. There’s no longer a white car in my driveway, I can see my fence, and there’s the wide open field where the church once stood.
One thing that disappointed me with the Maps portion of this app is there’s no direct way to call up directions while on the map screen. In Google maps it’s constantly available in the menu options. Here in Live Search you have to close out of the maps screen, go to the directions screen, get your directions, and then go back to the map…though I will add that the turn-by-turn interface was done better here than in Google maps.
 
Two other neat features I liked with Live Search were the Movies and Gas Prices options. Activating the Movies option automatically starts a movie show times search for your local area. You can even get movie descriptions and reviews from the movie search results.

The Gas Prices feature is similar – you get a quick rundown of local gas stations along with their currently reported prices. Pretty neat to have readily accessible with the way prices are these days…oh for the days when gas was less than a buck here in Charleston!
 
All in all I would totally recommend having this on your GPS equipped phone/pocket pc. It’s a great resource to have and it’s free! Posted on Friday, December 21, 2007 9:35 PM Software Reviews , Windows Mobile | Back to top


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