December 3, 2013
Yahoo Acquires Speech Recognition Startup SkyPhrase
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Yahoo announced on Monday that it has acquired SkyPhrase, a natural language software startup that makes human speech more recognizable to computers. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, however.The move could help Yahoo incorporate speech recognition into its user queries and commands across Yahoo’s product line.
A spokeswoman for Yahoo said SkyPhrase’s team of four will join its New York City-based Yahoo Labs business unit, a research division focused on new products and services such as human-computer interaction, mobile and personalization.
"In Yahoo, we have found a company that not only shares our vision, but delivers a rich collection of information and services to a massive user base," SkyPhrase said in a statement on its website announcing the acquisition.
By joining Yahoo Labs, both companies can “continue to work on our shared vision of making computers deeply understand people’s natural language and intentions.” Although it is unclear precisely how Yahoo will incorporate SkyPhrase into its products, the startup has previously worked on features related to sports, an important part of Yahoo’s business in which the company has invested heavily.
Yahoo's Sports services include breaking news, real-time scores, stats and Yahoo’s Fantasy sports apps, while SkyPhrase has already developed an app that makes it easier for fantasy football players to search through pertinent stats.
The SkyPhrase acquisition is only the latest in a series of buyouts Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer has made since taking the helm in 2012. Mayer has spoken openly about the need to prioritize the mobile aspect of Yahoo’s business, and has said the company also seeks to make additional investments in search.
Yahoo’s SkyPhrase acquisition received financial backing from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel through his Breakout Labs investment arm.