Facebook has purchased a voice recognition startup company called Wit.ai that helps build voice activated interfaces. The eighteen month old startup already has over 6000 developers on its platform who have build hundreds of apps.
Wit.ai software allows developers to create complicated speech recognition and voice capability into their products by simply adding a few short lines of code. The company's software translates sentences like "Set the temperature to 70 degrees in my bedroom" to something developers can easily use, allowing it to add siri-like controls to apps and services. Facebook may use the technology to help it target ads by tracking what people post using their voice.
“Wit.ai has built an incredible yet simple natural language processing API that has helped developers turn speech and text into actionable data,” Facebook tells me. “We’re excited to have them onboard.”
“Facebook has the resources and talent to help us take the next step,” Wit.ai wrote in a blog post about the acquisition. “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.”
The financial terms of the deal have not been released yet, but Wit.ai says in a blog post, that the company's platform will remain open and free.
The acquisition helps the largest social network Facebook to catch up with Apple, Google and Microsoft, all of which have long integrated voice recognition technology into their smartphones. This is Facebook's first acquisition this year, last year it had acquired messaging service WhatsApp and cyber security startup PrivateCore among others.