The Atlantic dug through an SEC filing which shows that the company “Dion Acquisition Sub” purchased the speech recognition company Yap and Dion just happens to be located in an Amazon building. Yap had a voicemail-to-text service but also reportedly had a ton of intellectual property around speech recognition.
Why would Amazon want this type of company? Well, it’s clearly to help it create something that can go against Siri. When I reviewed the personalized voice-powered assistant on the iPhone 4S, I was discouraged at what it couldn’t do and how it often couldn’t understand what I was saying but there were many moments of true amazement. This natural-language communication with computers is definitely the future and every consumer electronics company will have to keep pace, including Amazon.
With devices like the Kindle Fire just a few short days away, Amazon is taking a larger role in the hardware market but it’s still focused on selling content and other products. That’s where a Siri-like voice-recognition system could be amazing, as you could be on Amazon’s site or on the go and say, “I’m looking for some cool movies” and it would be able to combine the data Amazon already knows about you with its massive library of digital and physical goods to give you excellent recommendations that can be purchased with one click.
Let’s keep an eye on this one.