Facebook acquires voice recognition firm wit.ai

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Facebook has bought Y Combinator-backed speech recognition startup, wit.ai. The acquisition hints at Facebook’s goal to reach beyond computers and smartphones that are used as an interface to access its service.

The 18-month old startup provides an API for building voice-activated interfaces for wearable devices and Internet- connected appliances.

wit.ai said in a statement: "We’ve been building an open, distributed, community-based platform that makes it easy for developers to build apps that users can talk to."

"A great community of 6000+ developers joined forces on the platform, and Wit.ai is already powering hundreds of apps and devices."

Even after Facebook’s acquisition, the platform will remain open and will be completely free for everyone.

The latest deal comes in the midst of a race among technology companies to bring Internet connectivity to a new range of devices, from watches to washing machines.

The startup added: "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."

As part of efforts to transform the individuals’ Web experience with virtual reality, Facebook acquired virtual reality start-up Oculus VRfor $2bn in March 2014.

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