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Friday, Jul 19, 2024

Entrepreneur Back With a New Voice to Be Heard on the Market

Dean Weber is back in the hunt with goDog Inc.

Some readers may remember the La Jolla resident as the CEO behind One Voice Technologies Inc., a publicly traded company that offered voice technology software. One Voice eventually hit hard times, sold its patents and went out of business.

Weber, however, didn’t leave the voice software space.

“It’s been a passion of mine for 18 years,” he said. “This is what I do.”

GoDog makes personal assistant software that is much like Apple Inc.’s Siri — with an innovative twist. GoDog bills its cloud-based software as the industry’s first personal digital assistant that is truly cross-platform — meant to be available on all the devices a person uses throughout the day.

Weber wants to interest manufacturers in putting his software into smart TVs, set-top boxes, in-vehicle navigation systems and wearable devices. Weber said he is in talks with electronics makers.

A consumer version of goDog Fetch is already available. With financial help from Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), the company released software for the Windows 8.1 operating system in December. It released an Android version in April. The software download is free, and buyers can upgrade to a more robust version for $4.99. Weber said he plans to release versions for Apple iOS and various Web browsers before the year is over.

A Dog that Obeys

The young software has learned a lot of tricks.

Tell it to find a picture of George Washington, and it will do so. Tell it to “Call Target” and it will search for the nearest Target Corp. store and place the call.

Weber asks his phone to say, “How do I get to the airport” in Russian, and the phone responds in Russian. The software translates phrases into 10 languages, including Arabic, Japanese, Mexican Spanish and European Spanish. Weber demonstrated the translation with both a smartphone and a tablet computer running Windows. Since goDog Fetch is a cloud-based product, the translation came back on both devices.

The software has the ability to speak in 13 different voices.

The San Diego Venture Group recently named goDog as one of its Cool Companies for 2014.

Analytics Ventures recently gave goDog an unspecified amount of seed funding, and recently offered the startup space in the Analytics Ventures accelerator.

Targeting OEMs

Weber has been in the tech industry for 25 years. He founded goDog in 2012 and One Voice in 1999. The early 2000s was an era when BlackBerry phones were popular, and Weber created a voice-activated system for the BlackBerry device.

His software also worked in a service called Dial Tone 2.0, which was available in Mexico and India. A person trying to make a call would get a few seconds of dial tone, then a voice asking “How can I help you?” Phone users could then dial by voice, dictate their email or even read their email. This was an era, Weber said, when many people had to visit Internet cafes to correspond by email.

Weber eventually sold One Voice patents to Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL). He came up with new intellectual property for goDog, and he’s looking to get it patented. Today, he and business partner Adam Freid have two part-time employees. The main thing he wants to do is license his technology to original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, to put goDog software in home entertainment or automotive navigation systems.

“We empower OEMs to create a better device that’s easier to use for the consumer,” he said.

Weber said he thinks his software will have possibilities with the Internet of Things, when common everyday objects will have the ability to share data with one another and with users.


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