Ever since Apple released the iPhone and the third-generation iPads with a personal assistant known as Siri, the rest of the technological world has been playing catch up. Now it appears that there is a comparable technology on the Windows Phone platform, known as “Ask Ziggy.”
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Ask Ziggy was created by Shai Leib, a developer focused on the Windows Phone platform. Now, users of Windows Phone devices that utilize Windows 7 as their operating system can use the app to search for information or enter queries via voice instead of having to type things in. The voice recognition software is provided by Nuance, the same company that is responsible for the technology used by Siri. Ask Ziggy has stated that the app has processed more than three million queries since its inception earlier this year.
Ask Ziggy infuses $5 million of new cash into the company’s research and development. In a press release, the company refused to identify what company provided the capital, stating only that “it came from a publicly traded multinational corporation” whose name has not been disclosed. The major goal for Ask Ziggy is taking the funding they recently received and putting it to use in expanding the app’s market share. The company plans to be available on all Android, Apple and Microsoft devices by the end of the third quarter of this fiscal year. It’s a bold, brash goal but one that may be a bit unrealistic.
There still is plenty of work to be done in order to get Ask Ziggy up to par. One of the major complaints about Siri is the fact that the voice recognition capabilities are not yet up to snuff, leading to all kinds of strange results and garbled answers. The initial prototype of Ask Ziggy had even less functional capability for voice recognition than Siri does, meaning that it may take several reworks to make it something that can be used with anything approaching relative ease. When you get right down to it though, having an individual put together an app instead of a company like Microsoft being the brains behind the operation showcases how being able to think outside the box as an individual can far exceed what can be down by a major corporation.
To resolve that and other potential pratfalls, Ask Ziggy has expanded their list of partners to help propel the app to the forefront. One major addition to their stable of companies to work with is the Kopin Corporation, which has the Golden-I program which works to recognize input like keystrokes and touch but includes the capability to comprehend voice data as well. The premise combines the capability of Ask Ziggy to operate in different languages (Ask Ziggy has a Cloud-based speech engine that recognizes 22 languages while Siri is limited to comprehension of English, German, French and Japanese) along with the functionality of the Golden-I program and its ability to track real-time speech.
What that means is that instead of the technology being as useful as a floppy disk is to your computer now, it may soon be able to be utilized as a reliable source of obtaining accurate information in a fast, efficient manner, all without having to use a stylus, tap the touch screen or rattle your fingers off keys. Ask Ziggy is in the works of releasing a software development kit to developers as well, giving them the ability to expand on what the app can do, helping to increase the company’s leverage in the market. The company stated that its first client will be the “first multi-billion dollar multinational corporation to use a personal assistant voice software development kit for international transactions,” a major coup and a slap in the face of Steve Wozniak and Apple.
Leib delivered another bombshell recently when he said that Ask Ziggy would be accent independent, meaning that everyone has the ability to utilize the software instead of being limited by incorrect inflection. He then stated that the app would expand the user experience for all mobile devices, not merely cell phones.
What do you think about Ask Ziggy?