This week Google announced its audio index – a feature that will let users search videos based using speech recognition technology that identifies words in the video. It’s yet another beta (“Labs”) project. But if it moves forward, it will make Google’s search a lot more useful, and make YouTube even more dominant.
But what Google didn’t mention in their official announcement is the technology that makes this all possible comes from a Google product that seemed unrelated to the rest of the company – GOOG-411 (a.k.a. Voice Local Search).
GOOG-411 is a free, automated directory assistance number that is ad free. When Google launched the product in September last year, they said they would use it to improve speech recognition technology, which would help them index audio. Now, a year later, they’re launching the audio index.
This isn’t the first time an obscure Google acquisition or product has been thrust into centre stage. When Chrome launched earlier this month, Google revealed that the security features came out of the May 2007 acquisition of GreenBorder Technologies.
Google has a long laundry list of product launches and acquisitions, most of which have faded from memory (you can see our comprehensive list here). But some of them, apparently, are still rattling around the Googleplex’s halls. Want to guess which one is going to re-emerge next? Let us know in comments (or via an anonymous tip).
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