Hi Vlingo Fans,

It’s official – today we close one chapter for Vlingo and begin a new and exciting one with Nuance.  We announced back in December Nuance’s intention to acquire Vlingo, and we’re pleased to announce that the acquisition is official and closed.

And while we look ahead, it’s also natural to reminisce.  After all, Nuance saw in Vlingo innovation and a spirit that we worked hard to build.

In June 2006, mobile and speech industry veterans, Mike Phillips and John Nguyen had a vision to create a breakthrough in mobile user interfaces through Automatic Speech Recognition.   Already capable of everything from surfing the web to email to social networking and e-commerce and more, all mobile phones shared one thing in common: they had a constrained user interface. The good news was that all these devices had microphones, so Mike and John had the idea to add voice as the UI. To turn this vision into reality, Mike and John formed a team of highly skilled and talented engineers to develop the technology.

Recognizing the need for natural voice input, Vlingo wanted to design its applications so that users did not have to change how they spoke or memorize a list of commands.  For years, many thought voice as a UI was impossible.   But the Vlingo team worked to solve this problem using the power of the web and cloud computing to move speech recognition off of the device and into the cloud.   This solution would allow Vlingo users to say what they want, how they want enabling them to stay connected with the people, businesses, and activities that are important to them.

On August 21, 2007, Vlingo launched its first voice virtual assistant beta product, unlocking access to more content on mobile phones. Within just a few years, Vlingo quickly became a leader in voice virtual assistant functionality.  In April 2008, Yahoo! chose Vlingo to power their oneSearchTM with voice application.  Shortly thereafter, Vlingo launched its own consumer applications for BlackBerry, iPhone, Nokia S60 and Android users. In 2010, Samsung partnered with Vlingo to power Voice Talk on its flagship device, the Samsung Galaxy SII. Combined with the addition of our partnerships with RIM, Nokia, and AT&T, and others, we supported tens of millions of people worldwide using Vlingo’s virtual assistant.

And then, as most people who follow this space know, a monumental demand for voice-based virtual assistants exploded in the market last fall with the introduction of Apple’s Siri virtual assistant. In a way only Apple can, they educated an entire market.  As a result, the entire industry has seen explosive, unprecedented demand for intelligent, mobile interfaces driven by voice, language understanding and virtual assistant technologies. The market is burgeoning with opportunities not just in mobile, but expanding across autos, tablets, PCs and televisions. By the end of last year it became clear that in the best way to scale to meet this demand and to further accelerate the pace of innovation was to combine forces with Nuance Communications.  In December of last year we announced the acquisition of Vlingo by Nuance.

Today, I’m delighted to announce the acquisition of Vlingo by Nuance has closed. As a combined organization of research & development, resources and talent, we will rapidly be able to advance virtual assistance innovation not just in mobile but across all connected devices.  Together, we will address the diverse needs of our collective customers and partners around the world.

And while the acquisition may be closed, Vlingo users will continue to have uninterrupted service.  In the coming months we will be working to unify the Vlingo and Nuance products.  Both companies share a sentiment that our customer’s interests and loyalty are the keys to success. Our collective goal is to advance our technology and to create industry leading products that not only make users smile, but also make it easy for everyone to tell their friends they should join in on the fun, too!

We are extremely thrilled to join the team at Nuance and look forward to paving the road ahead.   Thank you for your continued support through the years and into the future.

Best,

Dave Grannan
President & CEO, Vlingo

We’ve seen quite a few comments in the blogosphere regarding the Double Tap and TTS features of Voice Talk on the Samsung Galaxy SII. Customers are accidently triggering the double tap feature and other customers want to minimize the text to speech functionality.  As a result we wanted to share a few tips and tricks to help you better manage how you interact with the app.

1)    Disable double-tap feature

  • Open your phones “Settings”, then select “Motion settings”. From there you can uncheck “Double Tap”.

2)    Turn off Driving Mode to minimize TTS feedback

  • Open your phones “Settings”, select “Voice input and output, then “Text-to-Speech”.  Uncheck “Driving mode”.

Hope this helps!

Read CNET’s coverage of Clarion’s Next Gate which was announced this week at CTIA.  Vlingo worked with Clarion to bring speech-to-text capabilities for users of the iPhone controller to easily connect to email and social media channels while behind the wheel.

CNET: Clarion Next Gate puts iPhone control, app integration on your windshield

Your car’s windshield can now be home to apps for Internet radio streaming, traffic and navigation, and voice command via Clarion’s new iPhone controller.

Clarion Corporation of America announced today at CTIA 2012 a new way to connect youriPhone to your car: the Next Gate.

Clarion’s Next Gate is a 7-inch WVGA touch display that mounts on your vehicle’s windshield with a suction cup, much like a portable navigation device. (However, at 7 inches, its size is only rivaled by the largest of PNDs, such as Magellan’s RoadMate 9055-LM.) The Next Gate features a cable connection to the iPhone 4’s or iPhone 4S’ 30-pin dock connector for data and charging; meanwhile the Clarion unit itself is powered by a 12-volt power adapter. The Next Gate also has a Bluetooth wireless connection for hands-free calling, a microSD slot, a built-in speaker and an auxiliary audio output for those who would rather use their car’s speakers (and who wouldn’t?), and a few blue LED buttons and and indicators.

So that’s what the Next Gate is, now what does it do? Essentially, it acts as an iPhone controller giving drivers command over audio playback and hands-free calling via its much larger display and vehicle-optimized interface. Bluetooth integration will enable the driver to use the iPhone’s voice activation and dialing functions. Additionally, Clarion has partnered with a selection of developers of apps that are optimized for in-vehicle use to enable capabilities such as “navigation, Internet radio, social networking, and voice control/text readout for select functions,” according to the manufacturer’s press release.

If I’m understanding correctly, what the Next Gate is is Pioneer’s AppRadio, but without the radio and without the in-dash installation, making it ideal for owners of multiple cars and members of car-sharing services such as ZipCar.

For now those app partners are TuneIn, Pandora, Vlingo, Inrix Traffic, and InfoGation, but Clarion states that users will be able to download additional applications in the future via its new Smart Access Cloud Telematics Service and possibly unlock other vehicle-approved functions.

You may recognize most of the current list of approved apps. Pandora has been a huge player in the Internet radio sphere for years now, providing access to customized streaming-audio channels. Pandora’s was one of the first apps to be integrated into both OEM and aftermarket car audio systems, so I’m not surprised to see it here. TuneIn, an app that I only recently became familiar with via the Parrot Asteroid, provides over 50,000 live, local, and global radio stations. TuneIn is great for those who just want a clearer reception of their favorite local public radio station or who have a favorite DJ who broadcasts on the other side of the globe. Inrix Traffic gives users access to what it describes as one of the most comprehesive traffic-monitoring networks available today, with the goal of helping plan the quickest, least frustrating, and most fuel-efficient route from where you are to where you want to be. InfoGation is navigation software that offers turn-by-turn directions along the way. Finally, I’ve gone into great detail about and heaped much praise upon Vlingo’s voice recognition software previously.

Additionally, Next Gate will offer limited integration with Facebook, Twitter, and news applications via the text-to-speech and voice command functions provided by Vlingo and iOS, so drivers can use their voice and ears to stay connected while keeping their eyes on the road.

Expect to see the Clarion Next Gate popping up at Best Buy, Crutchfield, and Amazon.com as early as June 1 at an MSRP of $269.99.

Vlingo is “Positively” Super!

April 12th, 2012 by TJ

Hello to the Wonderful World of Vlingo!

I like to think I’m a pretty cheery person.   I mean last year when my cat, Potato Chip, accidentally spilled my smoothie all over my new sweater do you think I bristled?   Of course not, people!   He didn’t do it on purpose – he was just trying to dig out that ball of yarn from my pocket.   Plus I never would have found Vlingo if it weren’t for good ole Potato Chip. We were at a Scrap Booking Club and he was cuddling with this cute little tabby.   I went over to snap a photo and noticed the tabby’s owner asking her phone to search for summer sausage recipes.   I knew I had to have that app.

Do I love using my virtual assistant?  Does Wisconsin make a darn good cheddar?  You betcha!  Be sure to check out my video to see all the ways Vlingo makes me smile!

Stay Positive,
Ms P

Grandma from the Old Country

April 3rd, 2012 by TJ

People of Vlingo Blog,

I do not like too much talking.  Usually when I talk it is because I have to yell at grandchild or have something important to tell pool boy.  He is very handsome, but not so smart.  His muscles are very good for drain cleaning.

The other day I find Vlingo while looking for app to help me cheat at bingo.  I do not mind talking to Vlingo, because Vlingo helps me do things.  It is also simple, like life in the old country.  That and it does not always try to steal my cookies, like fat grandson Billy.  Please watch video and I show you how Vlingo makes my life good.

Okay, I go now.
Grandma

Meet Colonel Frank

March 27th, 2012 by TJ

Dearest Vlingo Brethren,
 
Life on the front lines can be brutal and lonely. Especially when you’re supposed countryman left the rations in his other minivan, and your cotton-poly blend undershorts have begun to rot following a particularly rainy Battle of Antietam.   Despite the difficulty, it is those truly authentic moments that make Civil War reenacting so awesome.  The literature I have read suggests that the common infantrymen would go weeks at a time without so much as a single well-seasoned hot wing. I know. Truly barbaric conditions.
 
Just when I thought I couldn’t go on, the guy who fires our cannons showed me this app on his Android phone – Vlingo. Life with a virtual assistant is totally awesome!  If you want to know what life is like living on the edge of technology and Civil War reenacting, check out my video.
 

 

Godspeed,
Colonel Frank

Vlingo introduces Puppet

March 20th, 2012 by TJ

What’s up Party People!

My life is busy. Whether I am popping bottles poolside at the Chateau Marmont, or chatting backstage at Fashion Week, I hardly have a quiet moment to myself.  Just the other day I went to take a nap at my joint in Malibu and – BAM! – some leggy blonde walks up from the beach and wants my autograph.   One thing leads to another and the next thing you know I’m on a lobster boat in Labrador. A lesser puppet would probably have been to rehab a dozen times by now, buut there’s a reason I’ve only been four times – my virtual assistant, Vlingo.  No doubt she’s helped me out of a jam or two thousand.  Little word to the wise, though: if you end up in a Thai prison, I would look elsewhere for legal counsel.

Check out my video to get a little taste of how the beautiful people use a virtual assistant.

Peace out,
Puppet

Doesn’t everyone deserve a virtual assistant? We certainly think so. To celebrate all of the different types of people out there, we wanted to introduce you to a few friends of ours: meet Grandma, Frank, Ms Positivity and Puppet as they show you how their (quirky) lives are a little bit better with a virtual assistant to help out.

 

Over the next few weeks, you will be seeing a lot more of these characters, as they take over our blog, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  It should be a lot of fun!

Also, be sure to check out our brand new Pinterest page http://pinterest.com/vlingo/ to see fun images pinned by your favorite character.

Hope you enjoy!  Which character do you like the best?

 

 

Our friends at Android Tapp have begun a HD mini movie series featuring their favorite apps in a cinematic format.  Vlingo was selected to be the first in the series!  Watch below:

AndroidTapp.com Rating

AndroidTapp.com Rating!AndroidTapp.com Rating!AndroidTapp.com Rating!AndroidTapp.com Rating!AndroidTapp.com Rating! (4.7 out of 5)

Should you Download Vlingo: Words to Action? Yes! Control your phone completely by Voice… Must Have App!

Click here to read Android Tapp’s full review of Vlingo.

Check out TechRepublic’s review and step by step instructions on how to get Vlingo’s Virtual Assistant on your Android device!

Takeaway: Vlingo Virtual Assistant is Android’s answer to Siri envy. Jack Wallen explains how to get the most out of Vlingo.

 

Are you jealous when you watch the Siri commercials that make the iPhone look like the single greatest mobile functionality ever created? Do you ache and long to have such a feature on your Android phone? You can have that, you know, with Vlingo Virtual Assistant.

Even though Vlingo isn’t a sexy name, it does have a pleasant feminine voice that reads back your incoming texts and email, as well the ability to take your spoken input and achieve plenty of results. There are a few tricks to getting it working as expected, so let’s get this baby up and running to make your life infinitely easier.

With Vlingo you can:

  • Send texts and emails
  • Voice dial
  • Search the web
  • Find local restaurants, shops, and other businesses
  • Get directions
  • Update your social status on Facebook or Twitter and check in with foursquare
  • Get answers to just about any question
  • Buy movie tickets and book hotel rooms
  • Open other apps
  • Have incoming email and texts read aloud as they come in

Installation

Installation is as simple as:

  1. Open up the Android Market
  2. Search for “vlingo”
  3. Tap Download
  4. Tap Accept & Download

That’s it! Vlingo can now be found in the App Drawer on your mobile device.

When you first run Vlingo, you will be greeted with a quick tutorial on using the application. The tool is pretty straightforward to use. However, there are a couple of “gotchas” that you don’t get from the tutorial (more on that in a bit).

Once you’ve walked through the tutorial, you’ll find yourself on the Vlingo main screen (Figure A). Here you can access the landing screens for:

  • Sending texts
  • Placing phone calls
  • Finding restaurants
  • Finding businesses
  • Searching
  • Updating social networks
  • Getting answers
  • Opening apps

Figure A

From within the app, you can purchase a premium version for $1.99 (USD) without ads.

If you simply tap an entry on this screen, you’ll see hints about what it can do. If you long press an entry, it will take you directly to that function’s landing page (Figure B).

Figure B

Here’s the landing page for the Social Network status update page.

From the main screen, you can simply tap the Speak It button and then speak your search string into the mic to get a plethora of results. Tap the desired result entry, and you can select what you want to do with the results (Figure C).

Figure C

Call, get directions, or view on the web at a touch of a button.

Text to speech

As I mentioned earlier, it’s possible to have Vlingo read your incoming texts and emails. There’s a caveat to this. Vlingo reads everything, so if an email is long (or a reply in a long thread of conversations), this can get rather tedious and annoying.

In order to enable this feature, open the Settings menu from within Vlingo (tap the Menu button on the handset), and then tap SafeReader settings. In this new screen (Figure D), check the box for the app you want Vlingo to read incoming messages from.

Figure D

You can enable both texts and emails.

If you enable email, you also have to make sure you select which account you want Vlingo to read. Tap the Email accounts button and then select the account you want to enable.

You’re not done. Although you’ve enabled the apps, you haven’t enabled the SafeReader option. To do this, go back to the main screen and then tap the speaker icon (in the top left) to enable (the “x” sould go away and Vlingo will speak to you “Safe reader is on”). Now, whenever a text or email arrives, Vlingo will read it out to you.

Vlingo InCar

There’s a beta version of an in-car dashboard that makes it even easier to use Vlingo. To get to the InCar dashboard, click the tiny steering wheel icon in the upper-right corner of the main screen. When the new screen opens (Figure E), you can tap one of the large buttons and then speak.

Figure E

Scroll the main pane to the left to see the Settings pane where you can enable Wake-up Command.

The Wake-up command is very handy for the Vlingo InCar. Having this on allows you to say “Hey, Vlingo” and Vlingo will then follow your next command. So, if you wanted to Text a contact, you would say:

“Hey, Vlingo.”

Once Vlingo responds with, “What would you like to do?” follow the rest of the vocal prompts. It’s really quite simple.

Vlingo has a number of other amazing options that go a long way to making your Android mobile experience as safe and easy as possible. I’m fairly confident that once you start using Vlingo, you won’t go back to the old finger-tiring, unsafe-driving method.