Facebook has purchased Wit.ai, a startup that makes it easy for developers to incorporate voice commands into their apps. The fiscal terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but Wit.ai’s founding team will join Facebook along with a handful of the company’s other employees.
Wit.ai’s platform lets developers include voice command functionality in their apps without having to build their own voice recognition infrastructure. It’s a boon for companies that want to allow Siri-like voice commands without spending the money to develop support for them in-house.
The company says that its platform will remain open for use following the acquisition, which is good news for developers. One of the interesting components of Wit.ai’s business model is that it allows developers to use its services for free so long as they provide open data about all the queries they receive. That way, other developers can improve their own implementations of the technology. People who want to keep queries under wraps can pay for the service.
It’s not yet clear what Facebook wants with the company, but it seems like a good bet that the social network has designs on incorporating voice recognition into its products at some point in the future. Buying Wit.ai, which already has a working solution and a vibrant community supporting it, seems like a good way to kick-start that process.