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Microsoft Acquires Wand Labs

Boosting the Artificial Intelligence!

Remember ‘AI’ or ‘Minority Report’, where the protagonists spoke with machines in real time? The technology that seemed far-fetched a decade ago is now at the forefronts of the new technological wave. The trend commonly known as chatbot trend is quickly making its way to various IT platforms.

Microsoft’s Step towards Advanced Conversational Intelligence

Earlier this year, CEO, Satya Nadella had announced Microsoft’s new strategy for Conversation as a Platform. Following their tryst with advanced conversational intelligence, Microsoft recently acquired bot startup, Wand Labs.

Wand labs had recently developed a virtual voice assistant that seamlessly integrated all mobile apps in one centralized chat window, making it easier for the mobile users to control these apps with just a voice command or a single click. For example, a user could navigate his way around the city or play Netflix from one common window.

Although their app was still in beta phase, Microsoft recognized the novelty of such a service. They have now acquired Wand Labs and formed their seven-man team and Wand founder, Vishal Sharma to work for Microsoft. This will help Microsoft to accelerate its progress in AI conversation field and help them integrate it with their other services like Bing, Microsoft Office and Azure.

Microsoft’s Cortana and Future Plans

The company has already been using Cortana, an AI voice assistant, which they have recently included in their Microsoft Surface devices. Now, the focus is on continually diminishing the line between human speech and AI.

Vishal Sharma on this Acquisition

Although, Wand Labs’ virtual assistant app won’t go beyond beta phase now, Vishal has promised the beta users that they will see similar features in the upcoming Microsoft devices. As for now, he and his team are working closely with Microsoft to enhance the human speech processing capabilities of Cortana and other such Microsoft services.

Takeaways:-

  • Microsoft has acquired Wand Labs to develop state-of-the-art virtual voice assistants.
  • Wand Labs’ entire team has been absorbed by Microsoft for the same.
  • With these virtual voice assistants, users can now control all apps from a single window by just speaking out what they want to do.
  • Cortana is one such voice assistance AI found in Microsoft’s Surface devices.
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