Feeds

SwiftKey plunders social networks for style

Working out what you were trying to say

Website security in corporate America

The latest version of mobile-keyboard SwiftKey will sample your Tweets and Facebook updates and work out what kind of writer you are to better guess what you're trying to say.

The idea isn't new: KeyPoint's Adaptxt does the same thing, though Swiftkey's latest version adds your Gmail outbox to the sources it uses to pinpoint the kind of language you use. Both companies reckon the process helps them make better predictions about what word you'll be using next, though only AdapTxt is entirely open source.

It's obvious to most people that touch-screen phones are badly designed for text input, but surprisingly few people are willing to hand over cash to improve the situation. Companies such as KeyPoint and Swipe (whose technology is based on sliding rather than tapping keys) like to make their money selling to device manufacturers rather than end users, but it's tough to draw attention from the big companies, which see few additional sales in an improved keyboard and are often unwilling to let small companies in the door.

KeyPoint hopes that going open source (under the Eclipse licence) will spur innovation and provide support for languages beyond the 50 or so that can already use Adaptxt. It must also be hoping that an open-source version will mollify handset manufacturers which might be reticent to do business with a small Glaswegian company; having an open-source base is more important to them than it is to end users.

SwiftKey, on the other hand, does sell direct to end users. The current version (listed at £1.23 in the Android Marketplace) doesn't do the social-networking thing to improve recognition rates, it just relies on previous behaviour and thus improves with use. There's a beta of the new version (already in the Marketplace) which is free to try if you want to see how well it works.

Actively seeking out the user's previous work should make the software more useful out of the box, and the company's demonstration video claims its software is ideal for profanity-spouting rugby fans prone to dropping into the Welsh vernacular (demonstrated by the Chief Commercial Officer).

Android does support Bluetooth keyboards these days (and mice – complete with tiny mouse pointer), but there's still room for soft keyboards that guess what we're trying to say even if they get it wrong every now and then. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.