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Best Bets Daily: Thursday

Taking Direction

Posted April 20, 2006 was already one of the most useful Websites for New Yorkers—but now it's even more awesome. First, for the uninitiated, this simple site allows you to type in any starting address and destination address in the five boroughs and get totally clear subway and bus directions (and you can even specify "More street walking/Fewer transfers" or "Less street walking/More transfers"). It's been working brilliantly since late 2004, but this week the site added HopStop Voice, a service that allows you to call 888-2-HOPSTOP and then get directions text messaged (for free!) to your cell phone or PDA. (For now it only works for Manhattan addresses.) A female voice asks, "What is your starting building address?" You answer (e.g., "444 Madison Avenue") and HopStop's voice-recognition technology understands and then asks, "What is your destination building address?" Answer that, and then simple directions are instantly sent to your text-enabled cell phone. Be sure to sign up first at, so you can set your preferences (e.g., "Subway only," "Bus only," "Subway + Bus," or "Walking only"). Also available: HopStop SMS, for New Yorkers who prefer speaking with their thumbs. By the way, HopStop—which was founded right here in New York by an Internet veteran named Chinedu Echeruo—is in major growth mode. There are beta versions of the site for Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., with plenty of other cities on the horizon.

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