Vlingo for Android Gets Foursquare Check-Ins
is finding new ways to differentiate its software for smartphones based on
Google's voice search application.
The company Sept. 2 released a new feature for its Vlingo for Android application that lets users check in to Foursquare simply by speaking into their smartphone running Android 2.0 or later.
Vlingo for Android lets users call friends, family and colleagues listed in the smartphone's personal address book. Users can send text messages, e-mail messages and other content simply by speaking into the phone using voice commands.
The company in July added a SuperDialer feature that let users quickly contact businesses, see maps and read reviews. Google followed Vlingo a month later by offering a similar tool, Google Voice Actions for Android, as a free feature of its existing Voice Search app.
Vlingo countered by making its own app free. Moreover, Vlingo CEO Dave Grannan noted that while Google's service focuses on surfacing Google content for users, Vlingo is at least casually supporting if not partnering with popular Web service providers to enable voice search services.
Hence the new deal with Foursquare, which has a modest 3 million users but is the hottest location-based social service going.
Grannan told eWEEK Vlingo for Android will let users check in to a location, see what friends are nearby and provide updates on Foursquare from an Android handset.
"You can say things like 'Where are my friends?' to find friends on Foursquare, 'check in to Starbucks' and 'shout' out other commands," Grannan said. "Strategically, it's important for us to enable a voice-enabled social network on Android" to differentiate Vlingo from Google's Voice Actions.
He believes Google Voice Actions is likely awhile away from routing users to other Web services such as Foursquare and Facebook.
The refreshed Vlingo for Android app also spruces up the social connection quotient with a new "Share Vlingo" button that lets users update status on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare by saying "social update" into their phone.
Cozying up to popular Web services is smart on Vlingo's part as it seeks to fight extinction from Google's Voice Actions, which accompanies the Voice Search widget now omnipresent on Droid devices from Verizon Wireless.
While Vlingo freed up its Vlingo for Android (it was $9.99), the company makes money from advertising for the voice searches it connects users to, using Google's AdSense program.