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Will Yahoo Give Its Mobile Apps Voice?



In the latest in a series of acquisitions undertaken by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, the Internet company had announced that it has acquired natural language processing firm SkyPhrase. The deal could potentially allow Yahoo to deliver its own voice and speech recognition engine into its products in the future, including its mobile apps for iOS and Android platforms.

At this time, neither Yahoo nor Mayer has commented on how SkyPhrase would be integrated into existing or future Yahoo products. Given that Mayer has tasked Yahoo with a renewed emphasis on mobility, it’s also unknown if Yahoo has intentions of launching voice search to compete against Google Search and Google Now.

Yahoo_LogoYahoo’s Internet search rival leverages Google Search’s voice recognition and language processing to deliver its own app on Android and on iOS. On iOS, Google Search ditches Apple’s built-in Siri voice engine for its own engine. If Yahoo endeavors to embark on a similar path, it could do the same with SkyPhrase.

TechCrunch is reporting that SkyPhrase has worked on features related to fantasy sports in the past, and Yahoo could likely leverage the voice features for its fantasy sports products.

“Some examples of what specifically it’s already been able to do include building queries that provide custom notifications whenever a certain action is triggered, such as when a certain player scores a touchdown, which is directly applicable to Yahoo’s fantasy sports products as mentioned above, but it can also be used to conduct similar types of queries around complex data sets like website analytics,” the publication reported.

The company will be joining Yahoo’s New York Labs offices with the goal of  “making computers deeply understand people’s natural language and intentions.”

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