Facebook Acquires Voice-Interface Creator Wit.ai

By David Cohen 

FacebookLovesWitai650Facebook started off the new year with an acquisition that speaks your language, announcing its pickup of voice-interface creator Wit.ai. Terms were not disclosed.

The social network said in a statement announcing the transaction:

Wit.ai has built an incredible yet simple natural language-processing API (application-programming interface) that has helped developers turn speech and text into actionable data. We’re excited to have them onboard.

And Wit.ai added in a blog post:

The most interesting journeys involve unexpected surprises.

For a long time, I’ve been obsessed with building machines that understand human languages. 18 months ago, we started Wit.ai with the vision that no solution is to be found in a closed, centralized, managed approach. We’ve been building an open, distributed, community-based platform that makes it easy for developers to build applications that users can talk to.

A great community of 6,000-plus developers joined forces on the platform, and Wit.ai is already powering hundreds of apps and devices. We gathered an incredible group at our LISTEN conference in November. But we are just scratching the surface of the problem.

That is where today’s big news comes in: Wit.ai is joining Facebook!

It is an incredible acceleration in the execution of our vision. 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.

The platform will remain open and become entirely free for everyone. Developers are the life of our project and the energy, enthusiasm and passion of the community has helped turn what was once just a lofty dream into a reality. We want to continue to build with you.

We wouldn’t be where we are without the developers, investors and mentors who believed in us. We want to thank everyone who has been a part of the first leg of this journey. This is just the beginning.

Readers: What do you think Facebook will do with the technology it acquired from Wit.ai?

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