Facebook today acquired an 18-month-old speech recognition startup Wit.ai. The financial details of the deal have not been disclosed. Also Read - WhatsApp announces rollout of end-to-end encrypted backups for Android, iOS
California-based Wit.ai was founded by Alexandre Lebrun. It is basically a platform that lets third-party developers incorporate its open-source speech recognition software into varied products like robots, smart home products like thermostats and even apps. Also Read - Facebook launches Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses alongside new Facebook View app
Talking about its acquisition, the startup wrote on its blog, “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.” Also Read - WhatsApp multi-device for iPad users in the works, release expected soon
With Wit.ai’s core product offering being ‘turning speech into actionable data’, we cannot help but speculate that Facebook will sit on the drawing board and sketch out a way to embed this speech recognition feature into its social media platform.
“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,” Facebook said in a statement.
Wit.ai currently has more than 6,000 developers using its platform, and the company clarifies that its existing platform will remain available for all to use and will eventually also become entirely free.