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Ask Ziggy speaks to investors, walks away with a cool $5m to expand its service

Ask Ziggy

The speech recognition service, offering similar capabilities to Apples Siri is set to get a sweet little cash injection. The company has just walked away from talks to inject $5 million US into expanding its service to include more accents and languages.

The company is working closely with Nuance Communications to deliver mobile apps for Android and Apple devices and even bring the service to normal cell phones too. They aim to bring the service to tablets and computing headsets also.

Ask Ziggy also announced that they intend to release its SDK shortly. Sounds like good news for the company. It is clear that investors see the market value of these speech recognition systems. As Windows Phones users, we have had Ask Ziggy for some time and overall folks seem happy with the service.

We recently wrote about the lack of TellMe technology going into Windows 8, perhaps allowing services like Ask Ziggy to fill that gap could provide a better experience to users. Windows Phone 8 is to see quite a jump in its conversational abilities, although we have yet to see if it handles those Siri-like queries. We’re excited at the prospect of better speech recognition software, the applications for naturally talking to our devices are huge. There are still hurdles to overcome before we’re having that frantic conversation with HAL to open the pod bay doors. Ask Ziggy is convinced I’m either called Robot or Roberts or even the rather creepy Popit. Most of this is down to accent, being an East Londoner means I do have one, even if relatively mild.

Do many of you regularly use Ask Ziggy? If so, we would like to know how you have found the service. Do you think this latest cash boost will help enable some interesting new advances? Let us know in the comments bellow.

Click Here to grab Ask Ziggy 

QR: Ask Ziggy

Source : MoneyLife

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Reader comments

Ask Ziggy speaks to investors, walks away with a cool $5m to expand its service

38 Comments

This kinda boggles my mind to be honest... The app is crap IMO, at least in the current incarnation. I sure hope it gets better...
Still, I can't shake the feeling that MS is lacking in this regard...

I think this part of their press release explains it better. It's not just about pumping money to the Ask Ziggy app as we now it but about combining with some other background/back end tech to make it much more robust:
 
“Our product relationship with Ask Ziggy will intensify over the next few months,” said Jeffrey J. Jacobsen, Sr. Advisor to the CEO and Golden-i Program Mgr. for Kopin Corporation. “Combining Ziggy’s 22-language Cloud-based Natural Speech search engine with Golden-i’s world-class embedded real-time speech and gesture interface will rapidly transform ‘Siri’ class speech recognition from merely amusing into a fast, accurate, professional-grade access to information, and entirely ‘Hands-Free,’” he commented.
“Once our Golden-i computing headset achieved 97% or better speech recognition accuracy across multiple languages, the problem we faced was how to extend the convenience of Golden-i’s speech recognition accuracy across the World Wide Web or in a Cloud,” continued Mr. Jacobsen. “After testing Ask Ziggy’s contextual speech recognition, the answer was clear: deliver superior noise-cancelled speech recognition from Golden-i to the World Wide Web, and then allow Ask Ziggy to harness the world’s best server resources employing Ask Ziggy’s AI-assisted contextual speech recognition within the World Wide Web itself.”

I do understand that. It's just that when I look at the app right now, there is nothing special about it that would justify the 5 million investment. It doesn't make me go "Wow, a genius must be behind this, here take this money cause this is gold Jerry, GOLD!!!"
But I am curious to see what comes out of it. Blow my mind Ziggy!

5 million is nothing to some people...maybe that's the case here maybe the investor was like... what! Only 5 million? Yea I can do that its nothing *booming greedy laugh*

Nope, i dont really use it. Probably because im a non english speaker so my pronounciation is crap and fails most of the time.
Still use it some times for the amusement though, but cant see im using it on day to day basis.

I'm as American as they come and it doesn't understand me even half of the time. I've tried it multiple times hoping that it has gotten better. It hasn't. To make calls and text from my contacts list still works better with the built in Microsoft software.

Nice app.  I use it as often as my wife utilizes SIRI, which is rarely.  Until it is truly handsfree and integrated into the OS, it will be just another "cool" app.

Its not bad and I'm happy to see they are continuing to develop it. I'll continue to support the project at this time.

Don't understand why people bother to make speech recognition apps for iOS when people are just going to use Siri and people probably won't use this on android do to Google Now becoming available I always kinda wished MSFT bought them out or something but im happy its being invested just wish it was solely for Wp7-8

Cool app no doubt but like siri not that helpful, sure they can get things done but having that dedicated Bing search button no matter what im doing on my phone is the best way to go imo, even if it was integrated id still find hitting that search button and typing what I want faster and easier, also Bing has voice search so if I was to start using voice services id be using that

Good luck, have to say I've never come across anyone really using any speech recognition app, for all the hype. Maybe one day the tech will be accurate enough to be used seamlessley but to date its been more a curiousity for me. And again, it seems companies are just focused on copying what apple has done instead of creating something new. Thats why apple is always one step ahead and until that changes they always will be.

No offense to the writer intended, but I struggled to read that article. Normally I wouldn't comment on those things, but just had to this time.

No it doesn't, it means my intent wasn't to flame, but to simply express that it was hard to read with a staccato feel that didn't express a flow from topic to topic with a paragraph. Some of the sentence structure was unpleasant to read, that's all.

I used it several times. But more like a Gimmick rather than an actual useful app. Should they use some of the money to make it capable of German, I will definitely give it a shot again. :) What I would really like to see in addition is the ability to tweet or even make posts to your FB wall directly via speech.

I'm with everyone else here... literally the only places I see Siri being used is on commercials. I just don't see it used... at least not publicly. And this is a good thing, IMO, since I find it completely unhealthy to see celebrities using Siri the way Apple presents. I use TellMe in WP exactly the way it works... for hands-free text messaging in the car, so that I'm being a wreckless a-hole on the road. The best way to improve it for me is to open it up to email accounts and certain other apps that can give me details or give me information. Being able to answer a call after it reads the caller ID info would be nice too. The important thing, though, is that it be useful and work dependably... I couldn't care less about the gimmicky aspects.

Wow...I want Ziggy to be so great but when it can't tell me sports scores correctly, etc it is useless...these apps need to be 100% reliable to be worth the time...hopefully it gets there someday...

I used it like twice in the past.... I don't know how many months.  I really think the voice control is not all that useful.  Voice to text is useful, yet I didn't use Ask Ziggy to do that.  Is it better than the built in recognition?

I think ask ziggy is horrible, they way it is now anyways. I speak English, i spoke clearly, and i annunciated my words. No combustion of doing those things made it work the way it was suppose to, it worked maybe 30% of the time. Like other people have said, it has to work near 100% of the time for me to even consider using it or it just becomes more of a hassle and distraction while driving....hopefully this money will make its voice recognition better. If a program understood me perfectly and only could do one function of filling txt boxes i would be happy, but companies have to throw in all this crap instead of just making it work.

Ziggy has been and miss with my experience. It usually doesn't understand what I'm asking it wants to point me to some web site. And why do all of these gave basically the same voice? I think some stand alone GPS devices offer multiple voices to choose from. How about Mr T or a hot sounding English, Italian or French chick? That would be worth 99¢

After not using it for a while I have noticed some good changes. Now if I ask for food it links me to Bing maps with all the food locations in the area with nav instructions for each. Before I believe all it would do was bring up a list of locations. Still Speak It (voice dictation for email, text and other commands) seems to be a better tool than Ziggy and Tellme is best for everything else.

I used to LOVE this app, but recently it gives me CRAP answers for web results.  Its answers to questions dont make sense.  I still use it alot to create reminders (and that works well)  

I will never use speech unless it is at least 99% accurate and efficient. I hate when I am driving and I am trying to tell my phone to do something with a robotic voice and still it does something completely different.

I uninstalled Ziggy and am using Assistant which seems to be more voice accurate and generally more helpful

I used it a few times and it was terrible here too. But ill be happy to try it again with future updates.

MyZiggy is by far the worst app i've ever used. It never recognises anything at all. When i was to search mouse it goes and searches for a audi r8 and  Im like wtf. They should just use the 5m and give it to microsoft so they can upgrade the speech recognition software which will be way more useful

I use Ziggy the most for hearing and replying to text messages.  When I get a Text message, my UConnect hands free unit in my truck notifies me and then reads the message, telling me who it's from.  It hten allows me to respond to the mesage, entirely hands free.
That, in and of itself makes it worth more than any paid app. 
I would love to see a more Siri like ability and have better te-in with the actual OS but I assume it will come in time.  I'd like to be able to add appointments to my Calender by simply speaking them and giving the information.  Being able to turn a phone into a voice activated device would be incredible.  Maybe the $5million will help somewhere along that line.