Facebook buys speech recognition firm Mobile Technologies

13 Aug 2013

Social networking giant Facebook has acquired speech recognition company Mobile Technologies for an undisclosed sum in what looks like a move to help users overcome language barriers.

Mobile Technologies develops speech recognition and machine translation technology. Its main cross-lingual communication tool is Jibbigo, which the company describes as “the world’s first speech-to-speech translator on a phone that runs online and even offline, independent from the internet.”

It’s not entirely clear what Facebook plans to do with the technology, revealing little in a statement.

Future Human

“Voice technology has become an increasingly important way for people to navigate mobile devices and the web, and this technology will help us evolve our products to match that evolution,” Facebook said.

“We believe this acquisition is an investment in our long-term product roadmap as we continue towards our company’s mission.”

Mobile Technologies echoed that sentiment in its own statement.

“Facebook, with its mission to make the world more open and connected, provides the perfect platform to apply our technology at a truly global scale. We look forward to continuing to develop our technology at Facebook and finding new and interesting ways to apply it to Facebook’s long-term product roadmap.”

Under the deal, much of Mobile Technologies’ staff will join Facebook at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic