Back in 2006, before smartphones became really popular, a service called Jott was developed to make regular cell phones smarter. You dialed a toll free number, waited for a prompt that said, “Who do you want to Jott?” and based on what you said next, you could send someone an e-mail or text message by speaking the message that the service translated to text. Over the years Jott added integration with other web apps so that, for example, you could add an appointment to Google Calendar.
In 2009 Nuance, who is most known for the Dragon Dictation product, acquired Jott. Nuance kept running the Jott service, which provided free and paid services, but today it announced that it will be closing down the service effective May 3, 2011. Jott users can continue using the service until then, and the last month of the service will be free. Users who paid a year in advance should see refunds in June.
The FAQ about the closing of Jott does not give a clear reason for why the service is being closed. It says “…the technology, service, talent and imagination of Jott will continue on as part of a far broader set of services.” The FAQ entry goes on to say that they will be working partners like AT&T, Rogers, Bell Canada, Cisco, and Vonage, which suggests that Nuance intends to be an OEM of sorts for their speech-to-text service.
It is not a surprise that in their recommendation of alternatives for Jott customers, other Nuance products like Dragon Dictation and Dragon For E-mail, are listed. A similar competing product to Jott is Dial2Do, which I wrote about last year. The basic Dial2Do service costs $24.99 per year, which gets you the ability to create reminders by voice and voice to text transcription. To integrate Dial2Do with web apps you will need to subscribe to their $59.99 per year plan.