There were at least two big moves in the voice space today.
First, Thalmic Labs, a neighbour down the street from us, announced it closed a $120M investment that included a big infusion from Amazon’s Alexa Fund. Second, API.AI announced it was being acquired by Google.
It seems that we’re going through the same consolidation in voice that we saw with IOT and home automation two years ago. As Apple, Amazon, and Google grow in the voice space, we’re likely going to be seeing them sweep up more companies.
One of API.AI’s claims to fame after the acquisition of competitor Wit.AI by Facebook was “hey! we’re not owned by Facebook!”, which meant that the developers work wasn’t within the fold of a giant. At least that argument is going to change now as it becomes part of another giant.
With Thalmic Labs, it’ll be interesting to see what Alexa-enabled product they’ll put out — if at all. Amazon could have invested to be able to potentially apply Thalmic’s technology to future Alexa products. One way or another, it’ll mean that there’ll be a new direction for interaction with either Alexa or Thalmic devices.