Ask Ziggy, best known for its ‘Siri for Windows Phone’ app, has launched an API that allows developers to add Siri-style smart voice-powered features to their apps.

Launched at SXSW and currently in private beta, the API allows developers to quickly import datasets and assign functions to different spoken commands. The company anticipates that it will most widely be used to add intelligent search features into apps.

By way of demonstration, Ask Ziggy has announced a forthcoming app called Say It Book It. Created in association with Priceline, it allows users to find and book hotels simply by uttering queries like “I need a hotel in Austin with a bar and breakfast.”

At SXSW this weekend, I received a demo of the API setup process, and it really does look simple. This API is poised to fill a gap in the market by offering an easy way for developers to add natural language understanding to their apps.

It’s worth noting that the API doesn’t handle voice recognition itself; developers can use it in conjunction with services from the likes of Nuance or AT&T to take care of that side of the process. The API is a major step forward for San Francisco-based Ask Ziggy, which raised $5 million last summer.

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