ReQall Rover, currently in private beta, is the newest software from the folks behind reQall, a natural language memo service spun off from MIT’s Media Lab, that helps manage personal information. And in under 90 seconds, it just told me some key data about my upcoming day. The weather helps me choose my clothes. I know what my first appointment is, understand what my email queue is like, and I learned that a Facebook friend takes photos of popcorn showers. OK, so maybe that last bit isn’t important, but you get the idea. This Voice Summary feature is available on demand with a button tap or can be scheduled up to three times per day in the software.
I’ve been using the software for nearly a week, and I can already see huge potential because it aggregates important data from the various web services I already use. That may be the best description of how reQall Rover works: combining natural language processing with APIs from third-party services, it delivers personalized information to keep me on track, ranging from upcoming appointments, action items, local trending terms on Twitter, traffic nearby, and more. Upcoming appointments generate information on meeting attendees through LinkedIn and other sources. You can also speak to the software to ask questions as it builds up a database of web links and user-generated answers.
In terms of data services, reQall is leveraging some of the top-tier data stores through available APIs, but Rover can be an information platform for others as well. Other companies that capture user data can provide an API to reQall for inclusion in the software, then users can choose to personalize their experience with that data. There’s little point to re-creating the wheel when it comes to data, Sunil Vemuri, chief product officer at reQall, told me via a Skype video chat:
We’re good at natural language processing and using it to keep information manageable, but we’re not experts on real estate, for example. Zillow is a leader here, so if we could use an API from their service, reQall Rover could alert me of nearby homes for sale as I drive through a new neighborhood.
The approach makes sense, because no one company is likely to be an expert on all forms of data, although we’re sure to discuss that at our Big Data event later this month. Google may have the most information when it comes to general search, for example, but if I were home shopping, I’d hit Zillow over Google any day. And third-party services that offer an API bring a win-win for everyone: Rover users gain more pertinent information, and companies that provide such data are likely to see more people use the service to make it better in the first place