Facebook buys Wit.ai, a speech recognition startup

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Mark Zuckerberg at a Bloomberg TV interview at the company’s headquarters on Dec. 2, 2014. 
Facebook may soon be able to understand you a bit better — or at least your voice.

Facebook has agreed to acquire Wit.ai, a speech recognition and natural language processing service. The deal could help the social networking company develop voice features for Messenger and help the Facebook developer community.

A rep for Facebook confirmed the deal in a statement to Mashable. “Wit.ai has built an incredible yet simple natural language processing API that has helped developers turn speech and text into actionable data. We’re excited to have them onboard,” the Facebook spokesperson said.

Wit.ai was founded in 2013 with the goal of building what cofounder Alex Lebrun previously described as “the Github, the Wikipedia, the Bitcoin of natural language.” The startup worked to make it easier for developers to build voice interfaces for mobile apps, wearable devices and the Internet of Things.

“It is an incredible acceleration in the execution of our vision. Facebook has the resources and talent to help us take the next step,” the Wit.ai team said in a post about the acquisition. “The platform will remain open and become entirely free for everyone.”

Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed. Wit.ai had previously raised $3 million in funding from some notable investors, including Andreessen Horowitz.

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