Facebook Working On Its Own Voice-to-Text System

Posted by at 11:19 am on January 20, 2015

Facebook Messenger IconFacebook plans to add voice-to-text transcription to its Facebook Messenger application, said David Marcus, Facebook’s vice president of messaging products.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Marcus said the company is already testing the system using machine-to-machine learning, though he declined to say when the feature might be added to the app. Facebook expects the feature to be popular across Asia and other regions where typing various languages on mobile devices is more of a chore.

Apple, Google, and Microsoft already provide their own voice-to-text services, which are built into the iOS, Android, and Windows Phone operating systems, respectively. Marcus didn’t say how Facebook’s transcription service will differ from what’s already available to consumers. Marcus said 500 million people use Messenger monthly and it hopes to grow that number to 1 billion.

Marcus indicated Facebook is exploring ways to monetize Messenger, but the company wants to avoid advertising.

Facebook also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, which have 700 million and 300 million monthly users, respectively. Facebook said it will monetize Messenger before WhatsApp. Facebook has an “ambitious” roadmap for Messenger, and will add other features over the course of the year.

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