Facebook buys Wit.ai, adds natural language knowhow

Facebook adopts a startup focused on natural language platforms and brings in more developers.

Facebook has acquired Wit.ai, a startup focused on natural language software platform.

Wit.ai is an early stage startup that in October raised $3 million in seed financing with Andreessen Horowitz as the lead investor. Wit.ai aims to create a natural language platform that's open sourced and distributed.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but indicates what Facebook is thinking. As the social network is increasingly mobile, it will need natural language algorithms and knowhow to add key features. Rival Google has built in a bevy of natural language tools into Android and Apple has its Siri personal assistant.

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Wit.ai also brings more than 6,000 developers to Facebook via its platform. Facebook plans to keep Wit.ai an open source platform.

Facebook has courted developers via acquisitions such as Parse as well as open sourcing its data center techniques. Wit.ai's documentation spans multiple platforms.

Wit.ai's software is free for open data projects, but there are charges related to the number of queries a day and instances for commercial efforts. Pricing ranged from $9 a month for 250 queries a day to $499 a month for 5,000 queries and $1,499 a month for 25,000 queries.

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