This story is about an entrepreneur who does NOT want you to read this article about his new start-up, he’d rather you let a cat read it to you instead. We’re not kidding! Freddie Laker is the CEO of Guide, a tech start-up filled with talking animals, from a panda to a puppy that can all read Web pages to you. Laker’s cute talking animals are no joke; they’ve helped him raise over a million dollars from some big-name investors.
Anticipating you’d find it all a little bizarre, we included a video so you can see the animals that read and talk with your own eyes. The CEO thinks his furry Web page readers are the start of something big. “We believe this disruptive technology is going to transform how people consume online news,” said Laker.
CNBC gave him just 60 seconds to prove it.
“Our goal is to try to have you watch your favorite news instead of having to read it,” said Laker.
Guide is a tech start-up specializing in virtual news anchors that come in every shape and size you can think of and some we’re pretty sure you never imagined. If you want your news read to you by furry anchor-animals you have your pick from domestic to exotic, kittens to tigers. You can even have your online news read by Lady Liberty, as in the Statue of Liberty.
If you prefer canvas paintings over copper statues, than an anchorwoman by the name of Mona Lisa may strike your fancy. Michelangelo would probably love to know his masterpiece painting can now part her lips and read you Yahoo News headlines.
“It's easy to look at Guide and say ‘Oh, it's cats reading you the news, or something like that.’ The reality for me is that this is real-time generation of video content. Our ambition level is literally nothing short of television,” Laker told CNBC.
Simply put, Guide has designed avatars armed with text-to-speech technology and unleashes them on the Web to read online news from more than 70 websites, including Yahoo, The New York Times (NYT), GQ, E! Online and Gawker. Currently the company has 21 different avatars, a third of them human, the rest are animals, animations, and fantasy/pop culture characters.
Users can access the Web stories turned into virtual newscasts for free on the company’s website, Google TV or with an app available on (AAPL) iPad and (GOOG) Android tablets.
“We believe in a future where video content will be created in real time leveraging all of the new technologies emerging today like text to speech, avatars, voice recognition, facial recognition, social media, semantic analysis and big data,” Laker told CNBC.
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