Facebook has bought Wit.ai, a natural language recognition API provider, hinting that the social network is looking to move into the fast growing ‘Internet of Things’ sector.
Founded 18 months ago, Wit.ai aimed to build an open, distributed, community-based platform that developers could use to build apps with speech recognition.
The Wit API eliminates the app developer’s need to build a voice recognition platform from the ground up and integrates natural language processing into any app in a matter of minutes.
With its open approach, Wit.ai has attracted a solid user base, and Facebook’s resource and developer base could help Wit.ai take its product to a new level.
Neither company revealed what it planned to develop, but Facebook praised Wit.ai’s ability to “turn speech and text into actionable data”.
The existing Wit.ai platform would remain, the start-up said.
Wit.ai, which has been described as “the Github, the Wikipedia, the Bitcoin of natural language” by founder Alex Lebrun said: “Facebook has the resources and talent to help us take the next step.”
In a statement, it said: “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.”
It confirmed its own platform would “remain open and become entirely free for everyone”. It said: “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.”