Ina Fried

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Nuance: Virtual Assistants Will Work Across Platforms Within Two Years (Video)

Siri is good at predicting the weather on your iPhone. And Google Now can tell you a few interesting things.

But within two years, virtual assistants will be able to do a wide range of tasks from handling all types of media to making reservations to offering full control of devices. More importantly, they will work across tablets, televisions and phones.

“I think we will see virtual assistants within two years that are quite robust,” Nuance CEO Paul Ricci said, speaking at D11. “I also believe that within two years we will see that virtual assistants will work across platforms.”

Nuance, a leader in speech recognition, has been involved with Siri since before it was acquired by Apple. While it doesn’t power Google’s stock Android speech recognition, it is behind Samsung’s S Voice and virtual assistant technology on HTC devices. It also works with Amazon and, Ricci confirmed, Nuance still works with Apple.

“We’re a fundamental provider for Apple,” Ricci said.

As for why Nuance bought Swype, Ricci said: “We thought over time there are some common technologies in language and prediction technologies.”

So, has that paid off?

“It’s worked out some,” Ricci said.

Nuance is also working a lot on speech recognition for in-car systems, an area Walt Mossberg points out has yet to be truly great.

“The car does need work but the problem must be solved,” Ricci said. Ricci notes that things will improve as the car gets connected and can harness the power of the cloud.

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