Facebook To Buy Voice Recognition Specialist Mobile Technologies

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Facebook looks to boost mobile applications with voice commands

Facebook has announced it will buy speech recognition and language translation application developer Mobile Technologies as it seeks to bring voice recognition software to its social network.

The company has not revealed financial terms for the Pittsburgh-based developer but says it is delighted to welcome “some of the industry’s most talented people” to its engineering teams, pending approval of the deal.

“It has always been our mission to make the world more open and connected,” said Facebook’s Tom Stocky. “Although more than a billion people around the world already use Facebook every month, we are always looking for ways to help connect the rest of the world as well.

Facebook acquisitions

Facebook, mobile © Annette Shaff Shutterstock 2012“Voice technology has become an increasingly important way for people to navigate mobile devices and the web, and this technology will help us evolve our products to match that evolution. We believe this acquisition is an investment in our long-term product roadmap as we continue towards our company’s mission.”

Apple has included voice recognition technology in its iPhone since the release of the iPhone 4S, while the recently announced Moto X smartphone promises ‘handless navigation’ thanks to its range of speech-activated commands.

It is likely the technology will be used in Facebook’s mobile applications, which are becoming increasingly important to its finances.

Mobile advertising currently accounts for 41 percent of its total advertising revenue and given the high proportion of Facebook users that access the service via smartphones and tablets, it will be keen to increase this share while also improving the quality of their apps.

Facebook recently acquired British software quality specialist Monoidics in a move widely believed to improve the code quality of the social network’s mobile apps, which frequently suffer from crashes.

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