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Smarter Than Siri: Yahoo Acquires SkyPhrase

If you’re anything like me, you want your mobile device to fetch exactly what you ask for without requiring much effort on your part at all. And though Siri and Google Voice Actions do pretty well when you give simple commands or ask simple questions like “What temperature is it?” or “Why is Tom Daley trending on Twitter?” they are less likely to be able to come up with a list of your beloved’s favorite restaurants from the conversations you’ve had via email.

What Sets SkyPhrase Apart?

SkyPhrase, a company that developed technology that makes it possible for computers to deeply understand people's natural language and intentions, has a better shot at achieving the latter because it provides tailored results when searching for phrases with multiple variables. It has been reported that the company has already been successful at doing this with Gmail and Twitter.

In its self-authored Crunchbase profile, SkyPhrase says that its approach to natural language understanding is different because of its goals and because of its technology.

“We focus on giving people significantly more power over their data in specific areas, and allowing developers to easily add support to other areas. Within these areas, our technology can understand significantly more complex language with greater precision than any other technology.”

SkyPhrase Joins Yahoo Labs

This morning, via its website, SkyPhrase announced that it has been acquired by Yahoo.

SkyPhrase is joining Yahoo Labs

At SkyPhrase, we believe online information and services would be much more powerful and user friendly if people could tell computers what they want to accomplish using natural language. The technology we developed enables computers to understand more complex and precise human language than ever before.

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. We are excited to join Yahoo Labs to continue to work on our shared vision of making computers deeply understand people's natural language and intentions. We can’t wait to take things to the next level together."

While Yahoo hasn’t stated what its plans for SkyPhrase are, it’s a pretty safe guess that Marissa Mayer and her team will leverage not only its technology, but also the talent of its four engineers who will be stationed at Yahoo Labs in New York. According to multiple sources, these engineers have already been successful in using analytics on data to allow users to easily look up fantasy football stats or to alert users whenever a selected team scores a touchdown. Such features on Yahoo’s site would, no doubt, attract sports fans and gamers — and one thing that Marissa Mayer’s company needs is more visitors.

It’s worth adding that this is one of many acquisitions that Yahoo has made this year. In May it purchased Summly to improve mobile information accessibility — which should work nicely together with SkyPhrase. 

 
 
 
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