Sep 18th 2014

The Apple open-garden party has just started and 3rd party keyboards are the guests of honor!

The Ginger keyboard tale

Once upon a time, the walled garden was the standard for all mobile phone users. A walled garden is a closed software ecosystem where the service provider has full control over the user experience and restricts access to non-approved applications and content. We all had to live by the value-added services provided by our mobile operators and that was pretty much it!

When Apple introduced the first iPhone back in June 2007, they chose to build it within the same walled garden concept. It matched their long lasting philosophy that was implemented across all of their products up until then and since. As long as you “live under the Apple roof” you will enjoy a superb, well-controlled user experience, but in return, you will have to oblige by the Apple rules and be exposed only to what Apple decided it wants you to be exposed to (after setting up the Apple-serving business model behind the scenes of course).

Apple’s competitors on the other hand, chose a totally different path (did anyone in the crowd mention Google?). The open source, “all are welcome” path. This approach obviously promised users a lot more freedom of choice, but it usually came with a price (at least in its initial stages) of a slightly bug-y user experience. And the two existed in parallel, each with its own fans.

Lately, we can see some cracks in the walls of the Apple garden. Is it a sign of a revolutionary change of approach? Is it because Apple started to realize that more and more people prefer their garden’s walls open? After all, not too long ago Android overtook iOS as the most popular operating system in the US (and the US was an iPhone country to begin with). Here are the most recent numbers I could find: According to the latest data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech (July 2014), Android now holds 61.9% of the U.S. market share and Apple only 32.5%. Internationally, Android is even stronger with 82.7% market share in China and 73.3% across Europe in countries including the UK, France, Germany Spain and Italy.

No matter the reason, the fact remains that with the announcement of iOS 8 and the iPhone 6, third party developers now have a lot more options than before.

One great example is the third party keyboards that Android users have been enjoying for years. This new world will now be opened to iPhone users as well. Let’s look at the Ginger keyboard app for example. Yes, it will give you the standard keyboard features such as word prediction and smart typing features. But, as the fruit of a company with patented linguistic algorithms, this keyboard also hides a full-fledged writing solution behind its keypads. Yes, all the writing tools that you can think of are at your fingertips with this tiny little keyboard on your iPhone (or iPad) screen. I assume by now that all of you iPhone users out there who are reading this have a small grin on your face… well, let’s make it even bigger shall we? Grammar checking, proof reading, immediate translation between more than 40 languages, contextual synonyms and suggested re-phrasing, text reader and more, are part of the offering.

Register here to get updates on Ginger Keyboard availability in the AppStore.

Apple users are known to be on-the-individualistic-side, design freaks. So you can customize the look and feel of your keyboard, choosing from a set of pre-designed themes or designing your own theme from scratch, using it and sharing it with your friends and family so that they can enjoy your genius artsy spirit.

So if until now you were slightly bored with the iPhone writing experience, and embarrassed by your overlooked typos and grammar mistakes, while being very impressed by the writing skills of your friends and family who are Android users (SMS, emails, What’sApp messages), you can now join the gang. Don’t forget to thank Apple for slightly opening the gates of their garden, and hope that in the next iOS version releases the gate will be opened even wider.

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Feb 21st 2014

Ginger Page: A New Page in Communication

Hi everyone!

Top of the morning, good afternoon and a bon evening to you all, wherever you may be!

*** Edit June 17th 2014 – Ginger Page for iOS, Windows, Chrome and Android is now available here. ***

It’s amazing to be writing my first blog post on my way to the Mobile World Conference (the most important mobile expo in the world) in Barcelona. I’m really excited, because I’ll finally be able to offer you a glimpse of our latest creation, Ginger Page.

At MWC we’ll be announcing Ginger Page, and with its announcement, we turn over a new page in English writing and communication.

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In an increasingly globalized world where entire continents work, communicate and write in English, your ambitions are oftentimes defined by your level of English proficiency. After years of helping millions of Ginger users across the world effectively communicate with each other, I’m excited to announce the dawn of a new era.

Drawing on a deep understanding of your writing challenges and needs, we have engineered an exceptionally smooth writing experience that lets you focus on your writing. We have made it our goal to help you reach your optimal level of writing.

Ginger Page is the must-have productivity app for writing and communicating in today’s globalized world. Powered by Ginger’s crowd-sourced contextually-aware Natural Language Processing engine for proofreading and paraphrasing, Ginger Page features an integrated set of smart tools for writing meaningful text that conveys the author’s desired message more effectively.

Ginger Page presents you with a cutting-edge writing experience that includes one tap grammar and spelling correction combined with advanced paraphrasing functionality, contextual synonyms, cross-language translation, word definitions, a text-to-speech reader and much more.

Here’s to a new way of writing!

Guy Melamed

Vice President, Products

Ginger Software

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Dec 29th 2013

Ginger CMO Dudu Noy Discusses CaaS in 2014

Dudu Noy is the CMO at Ginger Software. Ginger’s Grammar Checker and Sentence Rephraser are available as desktop software, browser add-ons and Android mobile keyboard. Readers of our Japanese site may recall that we featured the company’s Japan launch back in April.

Ginger CMO Dudu Noy

I predict that 2014 will be remembered as the year that CaaS, or “Cognition-as-a-Service” platforms came of age. Cognition is historically a complex biological trait including skills such as decision making, problem solving, learning, reasoning, working memory and not least language, skills that today the computer sciences are chipping away at from various angles.

With each major evolutionary step in computing we have seen over the last 30 years, from mainframes to PCs, the internet, cloud and SaaS, and now ubiquitous smart mobile, the new realm has not so much replaced but augmented what was there before.

In the same way the promise of CaaS is to allow apps and services to function more intelligently and intuitively, allowing you to converse with them, ask questions, give commands and complete tasks more efficiently and conveniently.

Apple’s Siri is one of the most famous cognition-based services in general use today. And now Google’s recent innovations to its search product for mobile, incorporating more contextual conversation for queries, pits it against Siri in the cognition-augmented search arena. In both cases, the technology itself is in the cloud, even though the device is in the user’s hand. Their main functions only work when there is an internet connection [1].

The reason is that the two necessary tricks to make sense of a user’s speech input – speech recognition and natural language processing (NLP) – require cloud-based servers performing intensive processing of proprietary algorithms that is beyond the capabilities of handheld technology.

When it comes to NLP it is the sheer diversity of languages that makes it such a challenge. Old school NLP solutions were based on rigid rules that map inputs to a big list of known inputs. But the list can never be long enough, and the hard rules can never cover all the edge cases. So the experience of talking to a supposedly “smart assistant” always left the user frustrated.

You need more powerful, agile technologies that can figure out that in a sentence such as: “Yuko wants to eat an apple.”

Yuko is something that can have wants, and can eat things, and that apples are things that can be eaten. The technology needs to be able to do this for the vast majority of sentences the app is likely to encounter. This is incredibly hard, but here at Ginger and a few other places, we are doing it.

It is not just Apple and Google who are eyeing this space. IBM is now also a player with Watson, recently announcing that the same supercomputer-strength software that conquered the quiz show “Jeopardy!”, will be available to app developers through an API and software toolkit. This will allow cognitive apps that leverage cognition to be hosted in the cloud on Watson. This would obviously be a great thing for IBM’s cloud hosting service as well.

This “platform model” in tech business is nothing new of course. In recent years IBM did this with its Websphere application server technology, which went from an internal project to a software community of thousands of developers. Salesforce.com did this with its Force cloud-app development platform, as did Amazon with Amazon Web Services.

But what is different with CaaS platforms is that cognitive powers will be baked in to the operating system, and all the apps that are developed on that platform. That will bring intelligence to a mass public in a wide variety of as yet unimagined contexts.

At Ginger we have not opened up our technology as a platform via an API yet, but we are providing the benefits of its cognitive powers to a mass user base globally. Our technology uses statistical algorithms in conjunction with natural language processing, referencing a vast database of trillions of English sentences that have been scoured from the web. This allows us to work out what the users of our applications are trying to communicate, be it in Microsoft Office apps, Gmail, Facebook or wherever, and correct their mistakes and suggest improvements to their expressions.

One thing is for sure – this is a really interesting space to work, and it will be fun to see where computer based cognition will go in 2014.

The article above was taken from thebridge.jp on 27.12.2014 in http://thebridge.jp/en/2013/12/cognition-as-a-service

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Dec 24th 2013

Design in Software Products, and Specifically Ginger

 

Traditionally, both high-tech and internet industries have built their products with a technical orientation. Engineering, product management and the never-ending quest to bring the next disruptive technology to market constituted the core focus of industry-leading companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and eBay.

However, the advent and proliferation of smart phones and mobile applications have forced even these tech giants to take a step back and reexamine their strategy. A recent article in the New York Times addressing a rise in demand for Silicon Valley designers, claims that “Design has become more important in software… because software has become more intimate. People use it all day in every face of their lives and on mobile devices, which require more thoughtful design because of the small screen”.

This is no news to Ginger. We take our user-experience very seriously as we focus on building a truly intimate product used 24/7 by people from all over the world. Our mission is not only to build useful products, but to make them with a powerful user-experience so that you enjoy using them. Of no less importance in a product like ours is finding a way to deliver those all-important corrections in a non-intrusive manner that keeps you focused on the task at hand – crafting a well-written message.

Finding that thin line between functionality, intuitiveness and beauty is no easy task, but at Ginger we rise to the challenge!

 

 

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Oct 28th 2013

Halloween Words

Trick or Treat – Halloween’s Just Around the Corner

For those of you who didn’t know, Halloween is just a few days away! Halloween is a particularly interesting holiday with activities that call for costume parties, trick-or-treating and jack-o’-lanterns. Say what? Yes, that’s right there are special words connected to this holiday that need some explanation for those of you who didn’t grow up with this tradition.

Halloween – This word is at least 250 years old, and is derived from a Scottish term, All Hallows’ Eve  which means “the evening before All Hallows’ Day”. All Hallows’ Eve took place the night after All Hallows’ Day. So how was such a long collection of words cut down to just one?  In the Scottish language, the word for “eve” is “even”. Over the years, even was contracted to een. So it’s not so hard to see how All was dropped as well as the letter “s” creating the new word Halloween.

Summary: Halloween means the evening before All Hallows Day.

Trick-or-Treating – This custom has children dressed up in costumes going from house to house to ask for candy. In most cases, the simple question “Trick or treat?” will be awarded with a handful of sweet goodies. Now you’re probably asking yourself how such a silly phrase has become perhaps the most highly anticipated question for kids all over the world… Basically it’s a (hopefully idle) threat implying that if there are no treats, some sort of mischief happen.

Summary: Trick or Treat means give me some candy or I’ll play a trick on you!

Jack-O-Lantern – A Jack-O-Lantern is a form of decoration used on Halloween. It is often placed on the steps leading to a door or outside on a porch. A Jack-O-Lantern is made by carving a face onto the surface of a pumpkin (or turnip or beet in some places). The insides of the pumpkin are usually scooped out and some sort of a light (usually a candle or electric light) is placed inside to create a flickering light effect at night.

Summary: If you see a scary face flickering light towards you on Halloween, don’t panic it’s probably just a Jack-O-Lantern.

Make sure your writing is perfect with Ginger Software.

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