Feature Article

April 18, 2013

Sherpa, Spanish-Speaking Personal Assistant, Ready for its US Close-Up

While “personal assistants” for mobile devices are all the rage now, everybody wants Siri or something like it to interact with – what if English isn’t your language of choice? The Spanish-speaking world has been enjoying the services of a personal assistant called “Sherpa” for some time, and it may be about to debut in the U.S.

According to TechCrunch, Sherpa has been popular in Spanish-speaking countries for several years. It was created by natural language expert, Xabier Uribe-Etxebarria. Sherpa works much like Siri or Google Now, the Android personal assistant that comes pre-installed on Android devices, but it offers a few extras, like allowing users to pay for something via PayPal via voice command, including travel reservations.

Wrote TechCrunch’s Drew Olanoff, “The example that really stood out to me was asking Sherpa to find flights for you, even picking up on the fact that you’d like to fly with more than one person. This type of technology, empowered by pulling in data from all different sources, is a good base to start. The more you use Sherpa, the more it learns. If you want to use it for simple things like seeing your Twitter mentions, that’s possible too. Sherpa hooks into all of your social accounts, making each service’s functionality available via voice command.”

The good news for U.S. Spanish speakers is that Sherpa recently raised $1.6 million from undisclosed angel investors, which is likely to be used to bring the Spanish personal assistant into the U.S. market. At the moment, Sherpa is available only for Android, but further investment will presumably enable the company to broaden its horizons.

Edited by Braden Becker

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