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

1 Comment

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!

 

 

5 Comments

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.

2 Comments

Oct 17th 2013

Why you need good English to make it as a journalist

Are you thinking of becoming a journalist? One of the most indispensable tools for journalists is knowledge of other languages so you can access all sorts of information from around the world.

However, in today’s world, the international language is English and most prominent journalists have at least some knowledge of English. If you want to distinguish yourself from the pack then you should make an effort to learn English. Let’s take a closer look at why English is an essential tool for any journalist.

English: The International Language

Languages connect people, and English will connect you to a wealth of information, whether it’s news, entertainment, and politics in the English-speaking world. Major organizations like the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund also publish works in English. Being able to access and understand these forces at play in our world will allow you to add depth and richness to your stories.

Furthermore, if you want to travel and produce work in the English-speaking world then you will absolutely need to speak English. Not only will you need to be able to understand your sources, but you will also need to make contacts and get around.

Ways to Learn English

Aside from taking a class, there are many ways you can learn and practice English. One way is to arrange to spend a few months in an English-speaking country taking a class and immersing yourself in English. Another way is to download apps for android mobile phones (where you are most likely to find a greater variety than those made for the iPhone) so you can access vocabulary and grammar lessons. There are also apps out there to help you with grammar check, proofreading and spell check.

Nevertheless, learning English will give you a definite edge in your journalism career. Even just a working knowledge will set you ahead of the pack!

Helene Leroux is an aspiring journalist from Paris, France.

Leave a comment

Oct 10th 2013

The Case for Learning English

 

English is without a doubt, the international language of the 21st century. Originally spread throughout the world by British colonialism, the rise of English was solidified with America’s ascension as the world’s predominant superpower.

There are many other examples of  nation states whose rise on the global stage spearhead the introduction of their language as an international standard (French, Latin, Greek to name just a few). However the use of these languages quickly rose, and then fell, as fast changing world politics upended the status of the nation which introduced the latest “Lingua Franca”.

The reason that English is here to stay is that it is the language of the internet – the first text to go online was in English and to this day the overwhelming majority of website domains, email addresses and content is in English.  The internet is perhaps the single greatest catalyst of change in the last 100 years, transforming the world in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine . And it’s all happening in English.

Considering the above, it’s no wonder that English is the most widely learned language in the world. International success in almost every sphere is hinged foremost on one’s ability to write, and speak, well in English. While not necessarily a requirement, the ability to write and speak at the level of a native provides a huge advantage over those who learned English as a second language.

With Ginger’s suite of language enhancement products, even non-native speakers of English can easily create well-written English text. Learn more on our website.

Leave a comment