February 12, 2013
Speech-Enabled Mobile App Shows Off its Semantic and Reading Abilities
By Mini Swamy
You’re half awake and too groggy to look at the newspaper headlines after being rudely awakened by a persistent alarm clock, but you don’t want to miss out on the social feeds and favorite news sites that usually herald the starting of another long day.
Not to worry, for Boulder-based startup, Reactor Labs, empathizes with such people and doles out the juicy tidbits in a much more appealing way through a first-of-its-kind, speech-enabled mobile app assistant – Winston.
Winston, a new and ambitious app, is the personification of a personal reader that reportedly compiles a brief from selected news sources and social network feeds into a cinematic news presentation that iOS users can listen to or watch on their iPhone and Apple (News - Alert) TV.
An exceptionally forward-thinking app, Winston underscores the need for lean-back technology to drive increasingly more content consumption.
"We wanted people to lean back and listen. We wanted to start a new conversation between people and technology, one that empowers and inspires them to stay informed about the world around them." said Aaron Ting, CEO and co-founder of Reactor Labs.
Jason Stein, founding partner of Windforce Ventures, which led Winston's latest funding round, found the concept of keeping up with the day’s headlines and social feeds while engaged in other activities, rather attractive.
When the app is launched for the first time, users are asked to connect to social sites and also setup channels for news. Once these have been configured, the first briefing is available. Content from various channels are shown in the form of a slide show.
The app goes beyond merely reading Facebook (News - Alert) posts and Tweets out loud; it describes the social content very relevantly using deep semantic analysis and summarizes Web content intelligently, creating a new way for people to interact with their personal Web.
The app is available for free in the Apple app store in the United States and other English speaking countries. It is expected to extend to other devices and countries in the near future.
Multiple companies have apparently evinced keen interest in licensing and advertising opportunities at Reactor Labs.
Will Winston- the personal news reader eclipse Siri- the iOS personal assistant?
Edited by Brooke Neuman