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Facebook buys French voice recognition startup

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Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Files

Facebook has bought Wit.ai, a startup specialising in voice recognition, which was created by three French men now based in California.

 

 


“Wit.ai joined Facebook. This is a tremendous acceleration in the implementation of our project”, wrote the company that was founded a year-and-a-half ago in San Francisco by France's Alexandre Lebrun, Willy Blandin and Alexandre Landowski.

The sale price has not been specified.

Wit.ai designs voice recognition software which you use to control your mobile phone or to set the temperature in your home. It acts as an interface with objects connected to the internet.

More than 6,000 developers have joined this structure and hundreds of apps are already functioning, the firm wrote in its message.

“But we are still in the early stages”, the company insisted, adding that Facebook had the “resources” to move on to the next stage.

Facebook had announced at the end of October that it would continue to buy different businesses and increase its development.

In 2014 Facebook bought the mobile messaging app WhatsApp for 22 billion dollars and spent two billion dollars purchasing the tech company Oculus VR which specialises in virtual reality.

Based in Palo Alto in California, Wit.ai had raised three billion dollars from prestigious American investors at a fundraising organized in October.

Alexandre Lebrun and Alexandre Landowski co-founded the company VirtuOz in 2002 in France before moving to the United States in 2008. This firm was sold at the beginning of 2013 to Nuance Communications, the software publisher of Siri, Apple’s vocal assistant.