AskMeNow, the Irvine, California-based mobile service that is being packaged as your personal 1-800 Q&A butler isn’t 100% voice recognition software-driven after all.

Here’s the marketese:

Once you sign up , simply call or text message your question and the answer is sent directly to your cell phone within moments. It’s that simple! (from

Here’s the fineprint:

The caller won’t be talking to a person. Instead, communication is with voice recognition software. But behind the automation are people at a Philippines call center transcribing calls, in case the software fails to capture every word, and looking up answers, which are delivered as a text message or email in about a minute, on average, according to the company (from Yahoo News)

Here’s the commentary.

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