Vlingo Seeks to Take Siri’s Place

At the recent Bing Search Summit Microsoft mentioned in passing that some of their internal research revealed that 60% of mobile users wanted input alternatives to the keyboard. There are basically three: voice, the camera and some sort of visual shortcut on the touchscreen (images/icons). Voice search has improved so dramatically that I use it on my EVO at least 50% of the time. I have Vlingo on my device and I’ve casually been testing it beside Google voice search. In my very non-scientific and non-controlled tests I’ve actually found Google voice recognition to be slightly more accurate and reliable than Vlingo. But Vlingo is a broader tool and can do a wider range of things on the device. CEO Dave Gannon told us several weeks ago when he was last in town that there’s a perception in the market that speech is now a commodity. Vlingo, which has both free and paid versions of its app, is trying to become a much broader tool — moving into Siri-like “personal assistant” territory — that consumers will think of “front door” on the device and way to get acces to everything from their contacts and apps to local search results. Siri was not long ago acquired by Apple for an undisclosed amount. Vlingo is now releasing what it calls “Super Dialer,” a local search tool that includes sponsored results from directory publishers. This also diversifies the revenue that Vlingo collects, which has largely been subscription based to date. TechCrunch reported that Gannon said that about 8% of users who try Vlingo convert to the paid version. Here’s a general demonstration of Vlingo for Android devices: Screen shot 2010-07-15 at 7.39.52 AM