Facebook Reaching Out Further For Wearables

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jan 07, 2015

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Facebook has demonstrated interest in the world of wearables for some time now.  The latest sign of its ambition to get into this space include its acquisition of a startup, known as wit.ai that makes software for wearable devices and Internet- connected appliances that can understand spoken words as well as written text phrased in “natural language.”

 

The social networking major, with 1.3 billion users, made headways in the wearable space first in March, when it acquired virtual reality headset maker Oculus VR for $2 billion. While the deal for wit.ai is likely to have been significantly smaller, it clearly indicates that Facebook is moving beyond PCs and smartphones.

 

wit.ai,Palo Alto, California-based company was formed 18 months ago with the objective to help developers build apps that can talk to user. Over the next couple of months, the startup hired more than 6,000 developers and is powering hundreds of apps and devices.

Experts believe it is yet another smart move by Facebook, as Speech recognition technology is slowly becoming the norm in almost all tech products like smartphones, tablets, wearables and internet-connected appliances. Tech majors such as Apple, Google and Microsoft have long existed in the speech recognition segment with their respective services like Siri, Google Now and Cortana. Moreover, speech recognition is an important part of mobile devices.

For Facebook, this would be of a logical interest as over 50 percent of the company’s ad revenue comes from mobile and it will help the company boost its monthly users by upgrading features where users can update status, chat with friends or run a quick search, without actually typing into the app.

Read: Smart wearable devices to become an enterprise reality

Wit.ai raised $3 million in funding from VCs and charges up to $1,499 per month to commercial users. But the company revealed in its official blog that under Facebook’s ownership, the platform will remain open and become entirely free for everyone.

Experts believe within the wearables segment, voice commands will take centre stage, as it is more convenient to speak out a command rather than to type on the tiny screen. Therefore it is now interesting to see how Facebook leverages this partnership and take its wearables ambition forward to compete with Apple’s Siri and the rest.