In a nutshell, Vlingo is a voice command application that when assigned to one of your BlackBerry’s convenience keys, allows you to perform common tasks like sending texts and emails, making calls and searching the web with the push of a button and a few spoken words. Vlingo uses a technology known as HLMs, or Hierarchical Language Models, to determine the probability of what was said and the desired outcome. The use of HLMS also means that, over time, Vlingo will learn and adapt to how you speak, greatly reducing potential mistakes. But don’t take my word for it, watch this video:
Vlingo can be used to compose both email and text messages, tasks, memos, calendar events, and open the BlackBerry Browser, Maps, Address Book, or BlackBerry Search. It’s a daunting list at first, but actually requires only a few basic voice commands to work smoothly. For example, consider the image below:
To create the email above I said “email Jim Balsillie subject hockey game message are we still on for tonight question mark“. To send Mr. Balsillie a text message instead, I could have simply said “SMS” or “message Jim Balsillie”. Vlingo is very good at selecting the right command via a variety of words.
While most people will likely gravitate to the ability to send hands-free emails, my favorite Vlingo command ended up being Note to Self. I had been a big fan of voice notes on my BlackBerry previously, using them as a stream-of-consciousness dumping ground for all my wireless industry musings. However, with Vlingo, those musings end up in a highly usable text format that I can email to myself or copy and paste into other documents.