Google, MS take voice, social-networking shots at each other

Google, Microsoft technology tussle going full speed

The client software portion of the platform initially will support the Blackberry 8800 series phones and Curve devices and Helios Mysto phones.

Tellme has been at voice recognition since it launched as a voice portal in 2000.

"The difference [from Google] comes in with the focus that we have," says Dariusz Paczuski, the head of Tellme's mobile division. "Speech recognition is hard to get right. We have been very successful focusing on specific problems we are trying to solve -- local, business search, sports."

The company added a stock service last month and powers 45% of the 411 in the United States.

"As soon as you broaden [your focus] and open it up you are prone to errors. It is a tough challenge technologically speaking," he says.

Users install a free browser-like application that communicates with the Web-based Tellme range of services. Google's voice service is an add-on to the search application it built for the iPhone.

On the social networking side, OpenSocial has the cooperation of some 20 social networks, including MySpace and LinkedIn, which have agreed to support applications built with the OpenSocial APIs. Developers have created nearly 8,000 OpenSocial applications.

Microsoft isn't so much trying to layer applications on top of social networking sites as much as it is trying to allow Windows Live users to unlock the vast amounts of data they have and use it across social networking sites.

Despite the drive by both for more openness, social networking pioneer Facebook has not agreed to participate in either effort.

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John Fontana

Network World
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