Apple Has Opened A Boston Office To Supercharge Siri

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Apple has opened a new office in Boston that is working on beefing up Siri… and probably means that Cupertino wants to move away from relying on Nuance to provide Siri’s voice-recognition technology.

The new Boston office appears to be largely staffed with speech and voice recognition scientists, many of whom used to work for VoiceSignal Technologies, a speech software company that was bought out by Nuance in 2007.

This group of employees includes some notable names, including Gunmar Evermann, who worked at Nuance before joing Apple in 2011. There’s also Larry Gillick, who was VP of Research at Nuance after VoiceSignal Technologies was acquired in 2011. Rounding the team out is Don McAllaster, a senior research scientists who joined Apple in 2011.

Nuance is based in Burlington, a nearby suburb of Boston, and provides speech recognition to pretty much everyone. They kept mum about being responsible for the majority of Siri’s speech recognition algorithms, but recently came clean about being “the fundamental provider” in May this year. Anyone notice they kept quiet while Siri was being widely criticized for voice recognition problems, and only admitted to being Sir’s brain once she got her act together?

Either way, Apple doesn’t like being 100% dependent upon any one technology provider, so it would make sense that they’d be looking for options to bring Siri’s voice-recognition totally in house. And if anything, this move shows how serious — or, should I say, “Siri-ous” (no, I shouldn’t… ugh) — about the future of Siri Apple is.

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John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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