Facebook Puts Its Money Where Your Mouth Is




This is Scientific American's 60-Second Tech. I'm Larry Greenemeier. Got a minute?
Chatter about the Internet of Things is filling the air at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
And the long-sought holy grail of ubiquitous voice recognition really will eventually happen.
Soon people will, as a matter of course, communicate with their cars, homes, appliances and gadgets by speaking instead of typing.
And Facebook has seen or maybe heard the writing on the wall.
So the social media giant bought an 18-month-old start-up company called Wit.ai.
Wit developed a plug-in code that lets software developers easily build speech-recognition into their products.
Of course apps already exist that let you post to your Facebook feed without having to take your eyes off the road or sidewalk.
But on the horizon are voice commands to search your Facebook feed or even voice recognition to log on to your account.
Wit says its software will remain open source.
But for Facebook to have the company in house gives it access to the tools needed to keep up with tech powerhouses such as Apple and Google, which have been offering voice recognition for years.
Wit might also be part of Facebook's virtual reality strategy, which got a big boost last year when the company bought Oculus Rift.
After all, how many of us are expert enough typists to hit the right keys with a visor covering our eyes?
Thanks for the minute, for Scientific American's 60-Second Tech. I'm Larry Greenemeier.