Posts Tagged ‘Skype’

Microsoft Talks Up What It’s Calling The First Truly Virtual Personal Assistant

Microsoft cortanaAs The Semantic Web Blog discussed yesterday here, the Virtual Personal Assistant is getting more personal. Microsoft officially unveiled Cortana as part of the Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone software at its Build event yesterday, and the service effectively replaces the search function on Windows smartphones, both for the Internet and locally.

This statement served as the theme from corporate vice president and manager Joe Belfiore: “Cortana is the first truly personal digital assistant who learns about me and about the things that matter to me most and the people that matter to me most, that understands the Internet and is great at helping me get things done.”

The Bing-powered Cortana is launching in beta mode, and was still subject to a few hiccups during the presentation. For example, when Belfiore asked Cortana to give him the weather in Las Vegas, it reported the information in degrees, and was able to respond to his request to provide the same information in Celsius. But he couldn’t get her to make the calculations to Kelvin. But, he promised attendees, “Try it yourself because she is smart enough to tell you the answer in Kelvin.”

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Semantic Start-Up Travels Road To Gaining Third-Party Developer Interest

Many semantic start-ups hoping to bring their platforms and APIs to wider public notice among the development community do so by crafting the first applications to leverage their technologies themselves. That’s the case with Kudos Knowledge, which has created Enliten, a personal newspaper using its Semantic Social Intelligence (SSI) technology to deliver news and information from hundreds of sources filtered according to user interests.

“The important thing for us was to show we had capacity,” explains Lee Sinclair, product director of the Australian-based company, which also has developed CelebTweety Social to connect users to information about their favorite celebrities, and Chat Search for Skype for mining conversation histories on that platform, based on its SSI technology. The basic concept behind Semantic Social Intelligence is something that the company internally calls the “.Me” to filter the world for the individual user.

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Amid Mixed Picture For VC Investments, Silk Gets More Seed Funding

Just as reports are coming in that venture-backed companies based in Europe recently have raised more money but in a fewer number of deals, word comes from the team at Amsterdam-based Silk that its latest seed round has brought in an additional $1.6 million.

According to new analysis from Dow Jones VentureSource, VC-backed companies based in Europe raised EUR 1.3 billion through 273 venture capital deals during the second quarter of 2012. That marked a 14 percent increase in capital raised but a 20 percent decline in deals from the same period last year, it said. Additionally, second-round deals accounted for 19 percent of deal flow and 18 percent of capital invested, down from 25 percent and 28 percent, respectively, in the year-ago period, it said.

Silk in May 2011 completed a $475,000 funding round led by Atomico, the venture capital firm headed up by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström.

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Silk Raises Nearly $500K in Funding

We recently reported on the impressive Amsterdam startup, Silk, winner of the TNW Startup Rally: “Silk is an app for the web that helps you collect, sort and view the information that you need without making you comb through the data yourself. It also allows content creators to provide their content in a more structured manner on the web. This is an app that will allow you to better navigate the semantic web seas, also known as Web 3.0.” According to a recent article, “Silk announced it has completed a €320,000 ($475,000) funding round led by Atomico, the venture capital firm led by Niklas Zennström, who also co-founded Skype.” Read more