Facebook has acquired Wit.ai, a company that builds voice recognition and natural language processing tools for developers. It has over 6,000 developers on its platform.
The platform is open, which is a quality the startup clearly takes pride in.
"For a long time I’ve been obsessed with building machines that understand human languages," it says in a blog post. "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.
The platform will remain open and free under Facebook's ownership.
On the acquisition, Wit.ai says, "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."
TechCrunch, which first reported on the news, shares a statement from Facebook: “Wit.ai has built an incredible yet simple natural language processing API that has helped developers turn speech and text into actionable data. We’re excited to have them onboard.”
As that report points out, Facebook has been looking for additional staff fro its Language Technology Group, which may be working on voice-to-text for Messenger.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.