Feeds

Amazon quietly acquires voice capability

Everyone else is doing it!

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices
Screw copper phone lines, we're UNIQUE, bleats telco
NBN Co claims 96 mbps download speeds for FTTN trial
Umina trial also delivers 30 mbps uploads, but exact rig used not revealed
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
EE: STILL Blighty's best mobe network, says 'Frappucino' Moore
Fresh round of network stats fisticuffs possibly on the cards here
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Google's so smart it's discovered SHARKS HAVE TEETH
Congratulations, world media, for rediscovering submarine cable armour
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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?