Facebook acquires speech recognition firm – Mobile World Live

Facebook acquires speech recognition firm

07 JAN 2015

Facebook agreed to acquire Wit.ai, a company specialising in natural language processing technology, which can be incorporated into apps by developers.

A post on the Wit.ai website about its sale said the company was founded 18 months ago, with the aim to create an open, community-based platform that enables developers “to build apps that users can talk to”.

More than 6,000 developers currently make use of the platform, with the technology integrated into hundreds of apps and devices.

The company said joining Facebook is “an incredible acceleration in the execution of our vision” due to the resources and talent at the social network’s disposal. Wit.ai will remain open and free to use for developers.

Wit.ai added that “technology that understands natural language” is a “big part” of Facebook’s mission to connect as many people as possible and develop new experiences.

The acquisition of Wit.ai by Facebook could be another element in its efforts to provide mobile developers with new tools to encourage them to build products that work alongside the social network’s technology. It could also incorporate the tech into its own mobile apps.

A Facebook representative told Re/code that Wit.ai founders Alex Lebrun, Laurent Landowski and Willy Blandin, along with several employees, will move to Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

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Tim Ferguson

Tim joined Mobile World Live in August 2011 and works across all channels, with a particular focus on apps. He came to the GSMA with five years of tech journalism experience, having started his career as a reporter... More

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