Feeds

Amazon quietly acquires voice capability

Everyone else is doing it!

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

A company specialising in voice-recognition technology has apparently been snapped up by Amazon, and is now operating under an assumed name, for reasons which remain obscure.

The company which has been acquired is called Yap, and offers voice-to-text services. Recently it shut down its public offering and merged with a company called "Dion Acquisition Sub Inc", resulting in both companies moving to 410 Terry Avenue, North Seattle: an address which Amazon also calls home.

The transaction was picked up by CLT Blog, a local blog which took an interest because Yap is based in Charlotte, North Carolina. CLT Blog is hosting a copy of the merger papers (PDF), which clearly show that the combined corporation (which will be called Yap Inc) is based at Amazon's offices.

We've contacted Amazon to ask if it is letting out rooms these days, but the retailer had not responded as we go to print.

Yap has been hawking its fully-automated voice-to-text service for the last few years, hoping to sell it to mobile network operators as a value-added service. UK voicemail provider Hullomail remembers negotiating with them to transcribe messages (which are currently pushed to email as audio files) but Yap wanted more money than Hullomail was willing to pay.

Most of Yap's customers are network operators, but it turns out that transcribing voice mail is something of a niche application: "A voice mail message is more than just words," as Hullomail's CEO puts it. Yap did launch a consumer offering, as an iOS application, but then shut that down on 20 October.

That was just over a month after the merger details were filed. This happened on 8 September 2011, but didn't ring any bells until the chaps at CLT Blog noticed the matching address.

Amazon obviously has little interest in transcribing voicemail, and the kind of fully automated voice recognition espoused by Yap isn't really good enough for that anyway – when simple mistakes can change the meaning so significantly. But voice-driven product searches make a lot of sense, so that's probably where Yap's technology will end up, assuming the company isn't just renting Amazon's spare room of course. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts
Complain to Ofcom that telco has 'effective monopoly'
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
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 hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.