updated 01:35 pm EDT, Fri May 9, 2014
Voice recognition tools, virtual assistant platform bought by Intel
Intel has acquired a selection of assets and staff from Ginger Software, a company based in Israel working in natural language processing. The purchase, thought to be worth up to $30 million, will allow Intel to push into the virtual assistant market, as well as bolstering its existing voice recognition projects, such as its Jarvis smart headset.
The asset picked up by Intel are said by TechCrunch to include a "platform for third parties to create customized personal assistants." A spokesperson for Ginger has confirmed the purchase, with a later statement from Intel advising it had acquired the natural language processing tools and application assets, and is "hiring up to 16 engineers associated with this business." Intel is quick to point out that the acquisition will not include Ginger Software's Grammar and Spell Checker.
Though Intel refuses to discuss how it could use the Ginger assets, nor the terms of the deal, the collection does appear to mesh well with its Jarvis project. In January, Intel suggested that it would include voice recognition software from a third party on its mobile processors, potentially allowing for a device to understand a verbal request without an active Internet connection. The Jarvis project uses a Bluetooth headset connected to a nearby smartphone for voice recognition and audio feedback, similar to Siri, Cortana, and Google Voice Search, though unlike its online-based counterparts, it would use "graceful degradation" of its assistant capabilities based on the amount, or lack of, signal in an area, with basic phone commands usable in black spots.