Facebook is acquiring Mobile Technologies, according to Tom Stocky, Facebook director, product management.
In a post here, Stocky announced the deal that would bring to Facebook “a company with an amazing team that's behind some of the world's leading speech recognition and machine translation technology….
It has always been our mission to make the world more open and connected. Although more than a billion people around the world already use Facebook every month, we are always looking for ways to help connect the rest of the world as well. Voice technology has become an increasingly important way for people to navigate mobile devices and the web, and this technology will help us evolve our products to match that evolution. We believe this acquisition is an investment in our long-term product roadmap as we continue towards our company's mission.”
Mobile Technologies is the developer of Jibbigo, what it credits as “the world’s first speech-to-speech translator on a phone that runs online and even off-line, independent from the Internet.” The program, which comes in both iOS and Android versions, works by having a user hold down the record button while saying a phrase, which then appears as text in both languages, and is spoken aloud in the target language, according to Wikipedia.
The company also says it developed and deployed the first automatic, simultaneous interpretation service for lectures for use in educational settings.
A post on the company’s website notes that the Facebook acquisition provides the opportunity to apply its “technology at a truly global scale,” and that it looks forward to “finding new and interesting ways to apply it to Facebook’s long-term product roadmap.”
Mobile Technologies’ speech recognition experts and expertise could help Facebook with voice features for communicating, sharing, translating or searching information via its Facebook Mobile App, not to mention be a help with the HTC First that features Facebook Home for a social smartphone experience. Facebook in late July also noted that more than 100 million people using Facebook For Every Phone each month, which includes popular Facebook features like News Feed, Messenger and Photos.
How many of its experts are making the move to Facebook is a question, though: Mobile Technologies post notes only that “many of us will be joining the company at their headquarters in Menlo Park, California.”
The terms of the deal were not disclosed. While the world waits to see exactly what Facebook will do with its new acquisition, it can always tune into some other apps out there to bring speech-to-text and voice recognition to Facebook updates, as well as Twitter tweets, like Skynetric’s SocialSpeech.