Facebook Buys Voice Sensor Startup Wit.ai
Facebook has picked up voice acquisition and recognition start-up Wit.ai, a company who have been working in that field for the last 18 months. Amazingly, the small company includes 6000 developers on their platform, and specialize in creating development kits for integrating voice recognition in other apps.
The company’s developer environments provide tools for developers to easily integrate the technology in a whole host of apps, and of course Facebook themselves as the new owner of the start-up will be at the forefront of the new technology, hopefully it will be integrated within their service at some point.
Wit.ai’s goal is to create an open, free set of tools for providing voice systems for everyone – Facebook’s motive may be to nurture and foster the company, and then monetize the service through advertising at a later date. Originally, Wit.ai accrued a $3 million investment in their concept from New Enterprise Associates and SV Angel through more traditional startup methods.
Using just a few well placed lines of code, a developer can get access to the entire Wit.ai system, enabling voice recognition as a sort of ’embedded’ feature within other apps. The system is entirely free and open, and it’s available for all to use, according to Wit.ai’s website. The original investment has covered the costs of getting the software made, and now anyone should be able to tap into the powerful set of tools the start-up offers.
bringing it back to Facebook, having the start-up on board means the social network can directly tap into as well as grow the voice recognition system within their own service. Future applications could very well mean that Facebook Messenger could include voice input, meaning you can ‘chat’ to the program and have your messages dictated instead of typing.
“Wit.ai has built an incredible yet simple natural language processing API that has helped developers turn speech and text into actionable data. We’re excited to have them onboard.”
The startup will also benefit from Facebook’s extensive network of business contacts as well as their knowledge of the industry – Wit.ai will obviously grow in the same way as other apps and small businesses acquired by the social networking giant, such as Oculus VR and Parse to name a couple.
“Facebook has the resources and talent to help us take the next step. Facebook’s mission is to connect everyone and build amazing experiences for the over 1.3 billion people on the platform – technology that understands natural language is a big part of that, and we think we can help.”
-Wit.ai, in a recent blog post
Wit.ai’s team have expressed great happiness in their recent blog post announcing the merger and acquisition of the startup with Facebook, with the team excited to continue their quest to build machines and software systems which understand human language.
Hopefully from a consumer point of view, voice recognition and voice enabled systems within Facebook will make the service more accessible and intuitive than ever before.
Source: Wit.ai’s Website