Voice search on mobile phones is increasingly becoming a viable alternative to pecking away on your tiny, touchscreen keyboard. Google has great voice search in both its iPhone and Android apps. Apple just bought Siri, which is a voice-powered personal search assistant. And then there is Vlingo, a Cambridge, Mass.-based voice search company backed by Charles River Ventures and Yahoo.
Today, Vlingo is launching a new Android app called SuperDialer. “Think of it as your infinite address book in the cloud,” says CEO Dave Gannon. It is essentially a voice-powered directory that returns local business search results instead of having to dial 411. If you say “pizza,” it will return the nearest pizza places based on your location. For each listing, you can call, see it on a map, get directions, or read reviews.
Vlingo’s voice apps have been downloaded more than 5 million times already, mostly on BlackBerry, but its iPhone app is even more popular than Siri’s (it is ranked No. 36 in productivity, versus No. 39 for Siri). The apps let you search the Web by speaking, voice dial, or speak a Twitter or Facebook status update. If you want to be able to dictate text messages or email using its speech-to-text technology, you have to pay $10 to $20. Gannon says Vlingo gets an 8 percent conversion rate of free to paid subscribers. But with SuperDialer, it will also make money off sponsored search results.
Vlingo is a Virtual Assistant that turns your words into action by combining voice to text technology, natural language processing, and Vlingo’s Intent Engine to understand the user’s intent and take the appropriate action. Simply speak to your phone to connect with the people, businesses and activities that are important to you. The team behind the service has some significant experience in the speech recognition space. The two co-founders (Mike Phillips and John Nguyen) worked for SpeechWorks, which was acquired...
Siri is now a product of Apple Corp. Siri is a virtual personal assistant incorporated as a feature of Apple iPhones beginning with the 4S generation. Siri was originally developed by SRI International. SRI spun off Siri, Inc., in 2007, and this company launched a personal assistant app in February 2010. Siri, Inc., was acquired by Apple in 2010, and in October 2011 Apple announced that the iPhone 4S would be using this technology.