Facebook is all set to embrace a voice-activated future with the purchase of Wit.ai, a start-up firm founded just 18 months ago which specialises in speech recognition and voice interaction.
The open source technology will remain free for developers to experiment, having already attracted 6,000 app developers, although it will likely seek to monetise the business in future by encouraging these firms to pay Facebook for ads.
Utilising cutting edge voice recognition software Wit.ai is able to translate speech and text into actionable commands in real time, potentially opening the door to a Facebook app which can be navigated and controlled through speech alone.
In a blog post Wit.ai wrote: “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.”
Other possible uses for the technology include a voice-text translator for its newly launched Messenger email service.