Apple snaps up speech recognition company Novauris, team now working on Siri

Siri

Siri is potentially going to get a lot stronger, as Apple has quietly acquired yet another speech recognition company — this time a well-known firm called Novauris. Founded in 2002 and spun out of the better-known Dragon Systems, Novauris is one of the early pioneers of modern voice recognition. Although Apple has made no official announcement of the purchase, TechCrunch has confirmed that the deal is done and was actually completed in 2013.

One of the biggest differentiators about Novauris in terms of the competitive landscape, is that they operated in both the embedded and server space, and they also owned the core engine. This of course would make them a valuable asset for Apple, which had tried to acquire Nuance, the technology that powers Apple’s Siri – a partnership that has long been known, but only officially confirmed last year.

The Novauris team has been at Apple now since last Fall, and is of course working to improve Siri's voice recognition platform. Apple currently still leans heavily on technology it licenses from Nuance to speech recognition and voices for the Siri interface on iOS, even though it bought the company Siri itself back in 2010.

It's no secret that Apple is working to separate itself from relying on other technologies for its leading hands-free interface, as there's even reportedly an entire team in Boston dedicated to beefing up Siri's technology back-end. We likely won't know what portion of new features can be attributed to the Novauris purchase, but an improved Siri is welcomed no matter the source.

Source: TechCrunch

Andrew Martonik

Economist. Android Central editor. Let's talk about mobile things.

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There are 8 comments. Add yours.

JAL Payen says:

Regardless of the fact that the purchase was completed in 2013, I really appreciate how Apple's activities have recently been rebounding in favor of consumers' expectations every time that Microsoft itself makes waves in the media. Mere coincidence?

Last week on Thursday: Julia White announces Office for iPad
Last Tuesday: Apple revamps iWorks for iOS

Yesterday: Cortana for Windows Mobile is announced
Today: Siri will soon get stronger

I LOOOOOOVE competitve products and services.

ba_hamilton says:

Good to see this. Google Now runs circles around Siri. It will be exciting to see what the iphone will be like in about 2 years,

Off subject but my neighborhood is getting wired for Google Fiber as we speak. Can't wait.

Becjr says:

I Siri-ously hopes that this tech will help Siri understand what I'm saying to her half of the time - without me having to speak to here like she is [or I am] an idiot.
:/

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Rolf Hed says:

Yeah, Siri could be a lot more useful. It's getting a little dated... Apple has work to do for iOS 8.

razorpit says:

Agreed, sometime the recognition it terrible too. I'll ask it to call people or text people who's names aren't anything like what I said. A day or two goes by and then everything works perfectly. It seems like there is constant development going on behind the scenes.

pwrof3 says:

Scared of Cortana? ;)

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JNGold says:

I love Siri and the most glaring "issue" is lack of on-device processing for commands that really shouldn't be sent over the airwaves to achieve a given request. Hopefully Apple is working on this. Now that the processing capability of a typical iPhone will now be of "desktop class" moving forward, maybe Siri can live both on our devices and in Apple's server farms.

CDLacey says:

This makes me excited. Maybe Siri will be better at understanding accents someday? Right now, it usually takes me 4 to 5 tries of asking Siri "que dit le renard?" before she actually picks up on what I'm asking.

Either that or Siri is judging my anglo accent when speaking, which is quite possible.