Apple iPhone (s aapl) users are still waiting for an official Google Voice (s goog) app, but they don’t have to wait for transcribed voice mails, because Yap does that today. The free Yap Voicemail software is available in the iTunes App store for iPhones running iOS 4.1 or later and boasts the same voice-mail-to-text engine already in use by some carriers. Similar to the voicemail function in Google Voice, Yap can also play back recorded messages and supports forwarding and replying to voicemail through either email, SMS message or a return phone call.
Voice-to-text solutions such as Yap are starting to gain popularity with consumers. As smartphone adoption increases, people are getting bombarded with data from a growing number of services and apps. Yap estimates that a trillion “long dialogue” communications such as voice mail are created yearly.
Indeed, this trend for speech recognition solutions appeared at our Mobilize event last week; out of the 10 LaunchPad finalists, the audience chose AdelaVoice’s StartTalking software that enables hands-free texting for the event’s “People’s Choice” award. As a result, traditional voice mail retrieval is time-consuming and more of a pull activity. Solutions such as Yap turn the experience into a push activity while also transforming an audio activity into a visual one, much like email or messaging.
To be sure, there are similar, competing services, but Yap is quietly making a big name for itself as one of the few free voice-to-text voicemail solutions. Last year, Yap was chosen as the voicemail-to-text provider for Cincinnati Bell, and in May of this year, Microsoft (s msft) began licensing Yap’s technology for its Talk-To-Text mobile application, which is used by Sprint (s s). In April, MetroPCS began offering Yap’s service to customers as a $3-per month service.
Founded in May of 2006, Yap is based in Charlotte, N.C. and has raised $8 million in funding from SunBridge Partners, Harbert Venture Partners and several smaller investors.
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