Facebook Acquires An 18-Month-Old Speech Recognition Startup, Wit.ai

Mark ZuckerbergJustin Sullivan/Getty ImagesFacebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook has acquired Wit.ai, a Y Combinator-backed speech recognition startup founded 18 months ago.

The company provides an API for building voice-activated interfaces and already has over 6,000 developers on its platform.  

While building speech recognition and voice control is normally an extremely complicated technical process, Wit.ai allows developers build this capability into their products by simply adding a few short lines of code.

Wit.ai announced the acquisition in a blog post:

The most interesting journeys involve unexpected surprises.

For a long time I’ve been obsessed with building machines that understand human languages. 18 months ago, we started Wit.ai with the vision that no solution is to be found in a closed, centralized, managed approach. We’ve been building an open, distributed, community-based platform that makes it easy for developers to build apps that users can talk to.

A great community of 6000+ developers joined forces on the platform, and Wit.ai is already powering hundreds of apps and devices. We gathered an incredible group at our LISTEN conference in November. But we are just scratching the surface of the problem.

That is where today’s big news comes in: Wit.ai is joining Facebook!

It is an incredible acceleration in the execution of our vision. Facebook has the resources and talent to help us take the next step. Facebook’s mission is to connect everyone and build amazing experiences for the over 1.3 billion people on the platform — technology that understands natural language is a big part of that, and we think we can help.

The platform will remain open and become entirely free for everyone. Developers are the life of our project and the energy, enthusiasm and passion of the community has helped turn what was once just a lofty dream, into a reality. We want to continue to build with you.

We wouldn’t be where we are without the developersinvestors, and mentors who believed in us. We want to thank everyone who has been a part of the first leg of this journey. This is just the beginning.

Team Wit

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