Feeds

Amazon quietly acquires voice capability

Everyone else is doing it!

New hybrid storage solutions

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
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
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts
After Applelocalypse, other wristputers will get stuck in
Shades of Mannesmann: Vodafone should buy T-Mobile US
Biting the bullet would let Blighty-based biz flip the bird at AT&T
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.