Apple has acquired another artificial intelligence startup, according to Bloomberg.
Voysis, a Dublin-based startup, will join Apple and aim to improve Siri’s ability to understand a person’s natural language. It focused on shopping-related voice commands, but Voysis’ technology should grow under Apple’s guidance to support general inquiries as Siri integrates with other apps.
E-commerce companies used Voysis’ technology to offer enhanced product search results through their apps. Bloomberg noted an example in which the user utters phrases such as “I need a new LED TV” and “my budget is $1,000.” Voysis’ technology understands the phrasing and sifts through a partner’s database to return appropriate products in search results. Clearly that’s useful to Apple if it can serve product search results within Siri rather than redirecting to an app immediately, or if Apple just wants to better understand a person’s natural language altogether.
Siri acts as an excellent digital assistant, but some users still feel that it falls short of what competitors offer. Alexa integrates with a countless number of platforms, and Google Assistant taps into an unbeatable knowledge graph. Apple, however, might turn out with a dominant digital assistant within the next few years. In addition to Voysis, Apple acquired startups including Turi, Laserlike, and Xnor.ai in recent years. Each of them targets artificial intelligence through specialized technologies.
Apple didn’t disclose the terms of its deal, and a spokesperson told Bloomberg that it will not discuss what’s next. Perhaps the Cupertino-based company will detail the future of Siri during its online-only Worldwide Developers Conference in June, but don’t expect anything major as some of the acquisitions occurred within the last couple of months.