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Otter – Voice recognition and transcription and search for meetings

very cool app, Otter, that has been cooking for the past 2 years by AISense, has just been released. 

Otter searches everyday conversations like meetings and conversations, making it as easy to search your voice conversations as it is to search your email and texts. 

Essentially, Otter is a voice recorder that offers automatic transcription, Otter is designed to be able to understand and capture long-form conversations that take place between multiple people.

The team 

Otter was built by AISense – a company founded by Sam Liang, the former Google architect who put the blue dot on Google Maps, then later sold his next company, location platform Alohar Mobile to Alibaba.

His team that hails from Google, Facebook, Nuance, Yahoo, as well as Stanford, Duke, MIT and Cambridge, Liang’s new company AISense has been developing the technology underpinning Otter over the past two years.

Liang says building a system like Otter’s wasn’t possible before. 

“Four years ago, there were tremendous advances in deep learning and A.I., and suddenly, the accuracy became much higher. It also requires a lot of CPU power, GPU power, and a lot of storage…these became much more affordable today compared to five or ten years ago,” 

The system, at launch, is not yet perfect, but shows much potential. The AI technology was able to differentiate between speakers as promised, but doesn’t yet catch every word of a conversation. It also misses the exact word at times, too – for example, dropping the “s” off a word like “helps,” and recording it as “help.”

What is cool is the tag cloud at the top of the transcript, where Otter identified words that were used a lot in a conversation. You could click on these words to jump to that part of the transcription.

The company has already licensed its transcription technology to  Zoom


AISense, to date, has raised $13 million in funding, led by Horizons Ventures – a backer of Viv, DeepMind, Siri, Slack, and others. Also participating were Bridgewater Associates, i-Hatch Ventures, MetaLab, Jay Markley, and Boston investors Jim Pallotta and Stu Porter.

Seed investors include Tim Draper through Draper Associates and Draper Dragon; Dave Morin through Slow Ventures; David Cheriton; SV Tech Ventures, Danhua Capital, and 500 Startups.

Posted on February 26, 2018

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