Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

MindMeld App Listens to Phone Calls and Gives Context

On the rare occasion that we use our smartphones to actually make calls, that big pretty-looking screen stays dormant.

Expect Labs, a new company with sophisticated audio analysis tools, wants to fill up smartphone and tablet screens with useful and pertinent stuff during phone calls. The company analyzes what concepts, people and places are being mentioned and displays relevant information about them in a shared space in its new iPad app, MindMeld.

Within MindMeld, which is planned for release next month for voice and later for video, people can make calls to other users. As soon as the call starts, the app starts listening and processing. When one of the participants presses a button, MindMeld displays, for both callers, information that may be useful to what they are talking about — like a map of the restaurant where they are setting up a date. Instead of waiting for a search or command, Expect Labs anticipates potential queries based on context.

“We’re going to move to a world where keyboards are gone,” CEO Tim Tuttle told me. “This is not Siri plus Skype. It’s not voice commands.”

What’s most important to Tuttle, who co-founded early video search engine Truveo (acquired by AOL), is the technology Expect has built, which he wants to provide to other calling apps. That’s the same strategy Truveo had before it sold to AOL, licensing its search to Microsoft, AOL and CNET. MindMeld, Tuttle said, is a demo he is showing off at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference today and to potential partners soon.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald