The makers of Word Lens, the smartphone app that uses the camera to translate foreign text into a known language, are now part of Google, who means to improve its own translation service.
Up until smartphones became mainstream, getting around in a foreign country without speaking the language of the locals was quite difficult. Fortunately, mobile apps can now help people learn new languages on the go, and when traveling, they facilitate the translation of foreign words and expressions into a language that you’re comfortable with. Word Lens took this one step further by enabling smartphone users to translate whatever words they had in front of their camera, supposing a data connection was available.
Google and Quest Visual have collaborated in the past on the Word Lens app that was specifically tailored for the search giant’s smart glasses. These two companies may actually be planning to get real-time translation to other categories of devices besides smartphones. Assuming that more smartwatches will be equipped with cameras in the future, and not just Samsung’s Gear family, it would definitely be nice to have Word Lens’ functionality at your wrist.
Word Lens is currently offered for free, along with all the language packs that the company offered over the time, which means that Google might actually choose to discontinue this product in order to incorporate the technology into its own Translate service. Still, that’s not really a certainty. After all, Google also bought the makers of the Timely app a while ago and made the app free in the Play Store, but didn’t discontinue it. To be fair, they didn’t bring any improvements, either, so the reasons behind that acquisition are anyone’s guess.
As always, the ones to benefit the most from Google’s acquisition of Quest Visual are the users of the Word Lens app, and above all, of the Translate app, which will definitely be updated to include Word Lens’ functionality in the not so distant future.
Below is the promo video that Quest Visual made for their Word Lens app at the time of the launch:
Once wearables become mainstream, translation services will change the way people interact, and Google Translate will be a prime example of that, with its newly gained capabilities.
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