It’s been quite a year for voice startups that have out-innovated Apple on its own platform.
There’s Siri, which came out in February, and quickly got bought by Apple. You use that app to talk to your phone, it recognises what you want, and then assists you by talking to dozens of web services. We’ve talked a lot about Siri before.
Today it’s Speak with Me’s turn with its “Voice DJ.” Don’t miss the importance of this app. It’s been in development for years (founder Ajay Juneja first showed me the technology in his “Knight Ridder” car back when I worked at Microsoft in 2005 — it took that long for the technology to get perfected so it could run in a smartphone). Funny enough, Michael Arrington got a tour and was “blown away.” Also funny to note is that the technology was first supposed to be ready in 2007. Ajay told me it took a lot longer to perfect than he expected. Plus, the company couldn’t release until a powerful set of smartphones were on the market.
But now that it’s here: wow.
You hold a button and tell your iPhone “play ‘Le Noise'” and Neil Young’s Le Noise starts playing through the speakers. “Play Lady Gaga” and it’ll start playing tracks from Lady Gaga. “Play next track” and it moves to the next track, and so forth.
You have a variety of other commands, too.
- Play song name
- Play artist name
- Play song name by artist name
- Play artist name song name
- Play album name
- Play playlist name
- Add song name to the playlist
- Add artist name to the playlist
- Add album name to the playlist
Plus dozens of other things to control your iPhone’s volume, or pause/stop the music, etc. You can see all the commands by clicking “help” in the app.
Some things, don’t get caught up on the fact that this is an iPhone/iPad app.
This is a technology platform that will be used to voice control lots of things in the future. It’s just that they needed to prove that this technology would work. It does. Remarkably well.
I expect that Google or Apple (or some other mobile company) will buy this company, just like Siri was bought. Why? Because it’s strategically important. This lets you use your mobile phone in new ways, especially while driving (it does what the more expensive Ford Sync system does, but brings it to iDevices and soon, other platforms).
After dozens of years of promises that “voice control is just around the corner” it’s finally here. Load it on your iPhone, and let me know if you agree that this is an example of where a startup outran Apple.
Or, watch the interview with founder Ajay Juneja where he talks with me about VoiceDJ and he gives me more insights behind the company and technology and the voice-recognition industry. We did the interview outside, on the 18th green of the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay during sunset. Enjoy that view! But even better is VoiceDJ worked every single time, even with the noise of the waves in the background.
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