In this Post I thought I’d talk about how Vlingo is changing the way people use their mobile phones and what our vision is for the future. Despite having been in the market for less than a year, Vlingo has been used by millions of people to send text messages & emails, search the Web, dial their phone, update their status and more. Already we’re enabling people to use their voice to accomplish most of the common things they do with their phones but our vision is that users should be able to say anything and Vlingo will take the appropriate action.
It’s been really interesting and inspiring to see how people are using Vlingo. We always expected Vlingo’s unique technology to be used as a quicker and easier alternative to typing on a phone. In many cases that’s what people are doing but Vlingo is also being used to complete task that otherwise wouldn’t be undertaken. I’ll give you a personal example. Every day as I walk to our office I use Vlingo to send text messages to family or friends, look up info like sports scores and weather reports, and update my Twitter status. In all these cases, I’m not really using Vlingo as a substituted for typing — since I’m not nearly coordinated enough to type messages while walking down a busy sidewalk — what’s really happening is that Vlingo is enabling me to do something that I couldn’t do before. Maybe without Vlingo I’d get around to doing some of these things or maybe not. The point is that with Vlingo I don’t need to wait, I can do it instantly!
This idea is reflected in our overall usage. If I had to sum it up, I’d say that people use Vlingo to instantly connect with the people and information that is important to them. To see this, check out this graphical representation of the most often used Vlingo function – sending text messages. (I should stress that Vlingo never stores or keeps personally identifiable information — this stuff is completely anonymous, even to us!)
I made this word cloud using the site wordle.net — the size of each word is relative to the frequency of its use in text messages sent using Vlingo. So out of the hundreds of thousands of messages sent over these couple days, the most used word was love! That’s pretty crazy — and no it wasn’t around Valentine’s Day! Overall the two things that stand out here are a sense of familiarity and immediacy. It’s clear from words like ‘love’, ‘hey’ and ‘baby’ that people are communicating with close friends or loved ones. On the other hand, words like ‘just’, ‘going’ and ‘now’ definitely communicate a sense of timeliness – of what’s going on at that moment. So at least for text messaging, Vlingo is allowing users to immediately communicate with friends and family – to instantly update them on what they’re doing at that moment. That’s pretty powerful stuff. That’s making a whole new manner of communication possible in the same way as email, text messaging and Twitter have. Speaking of Twitter, these word clouds get even more interesting for Facebook and Twitter status updates, but I’ll save that for a future post.
As I mentioned, we will continue to add functionality to Vlingo as we move towards our goal of letting users say anything into their phones and having Vlingo understand their intent and take the appropriate action. This could be stuff like “make a reservation for two at Peter Lugar’s for tomorrow night at 9:00” or “read me my most recent email from Dave Grannan” there’re endless possibilities? We’d love to hear what ideas you have for us…what would you like to Vlingo?
Hadley Harris – Head of Business & Market Strategy