It’s been confirmed that Facebook has purchased Wit.ai, a company that specialises in speech recognition software.
In a post over on the official Wit.ai blog, the startup company confirmed it had been acquired by the giant social network.
Wit.ai started up 18 months ago with the intention of building an API for voice-controlled interfaces. Or, as the blog post puts it, “an open, distributed, community-based platform that makes it easy for developers to build apps that users can talk to.”
In the short time since its inception, Wit.ai is already said to be powering hundreds of apps and devices. Now it’s joining the Facebook team with all of the obvious benefits that entails.
“Facebook has the resources and talent to help us take the next step”, explains the blog post. It goes on to reference Facebook’s own overarching goal to connect everyone, and claims that “technology that understands natural language is a big part of that, and we think we can help.”
The applications for Facebook are obvious - a Facebook app that can be navigated entirely by speech would certainly help the network to reach that next billion.
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It’s claimed that the Wit.ai platform will remain open and will become “entirely free for everyone.” The Wit team sees developers as the life blood of its project, and wants to continue harnessing the community’s energy and passion.
Also, as TechCrunch points out, this could be part of Facebook’s ongoing bid to get developers onside, helping them to build apps in return for eventual ad payments.