Having completed a very silent acquisition in September with no public announcement, Amazon has reportedly adopted speech to text startup, Yap. One of the key technologies Yap may bring to Amazon include voice to text transcription over long periods of time (up to 10 hours), but details are sparse.
The Atlantic unearthed information about the merger in this SEC filing. At face value, it would appear that Amazon may have tried to purposefully obfuscate the acquisition as it was performed under the guise of separate entity, Dion Acquisition Sub. What gave the company away though was the location of its headquarters: 410 Terry Ave. Seattle, WA. This particular address just happens to be an Amazon building.
Yap was the brainchild of the Jablakov brothers. Before Amazon scooped the company up, Yap was running a private beta of its voicemail transcription service.
The chief executive, Igor Jablakov, is a former IBM speech recognition engineer. Igor has publicly discussed the company, offering a recount of watching his teenage sister texting while in the car. Drawing inspiration from this scenario, the Jablakov brothers conceived Yap, a company focused on text-to-speech for mobile devices. Igor's intention was to make driving safer by creating an effective, hands-free way for phones and people to communicate while on the go.
What does this acquisition mean for Amazon? We can only guess, but the potential usefulness of Yap's STT (speech to text) technology is not difficult to imagine for Amazon, who's brand name is synonymous with books, eReaders and a plethora of other good and services. It is tempting to also mention Apple's Siri, especially since Amazon has shown an interest in muscling into Apple's market interests, such as apps, digital music and cloud storage. Additionally, Yap's intellectual property is said to be far more extensive than just its voice transcription products, so Amazon may be after some higher hanging fruit as well.