Thursday, December 4, 2008

Reviewing Vlingo's New iPhone App

I've been following the Cambridge speech-rec start-up Vlingo for a while (earlier coverage here).

Yesterday, they released their first app for the iPhone, which lets you talk to the phone to conduct Web searches, dial your contacts, update your Facebook status, and pull up maps.

In testing it out this morning, its accuracy rate seemed to be about 75 percent.

I tried to update my Facebook status to say "Scott Kirsner is playing with Vlingo's new iPhone app." It came up with " playing with Vlingo is new i phone app." So I tried again, saying, "... is playing with the new iPhone app from Vlingo," and got better results.

It quickly located the restaurant No. 9 Park on a map, as well as Diesel Cafe in Somerville and my home address in Cambridge.

With a Google search, it amazingly got "Hawaiian print quilts" on the first try, but was unable to snag the title of my latest book, "Inventing the Movies," after five or six attempts. ("In the kingdom movies"? Nope. "Investing the movies"? Close.)

The worst part of the app seemed to be voice dialing. You'd think this would be easy, since it's such a limited set of names. But the accuracy declined to about 50 or 60 percent here, in my unscientific test.

The main additional feature I'd want from this app is the ability to use Vlingo to compose text messages and e-mails. (The iPhone's keyboard is horrible!) I'd gladly pay...

There's a video demo on the company's site.

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