Mobile

Get ready for Google Translate on steroids

Above: Screen shot from Quest Digital's Word Lens app.

Image Credit: Quest Digital
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Google said Friday that it is scooping up virtual reality translation app maker Quest Digital, whose technology will eventually allow Google Translate to read and translate words read by your smartphone camera.

Quest Digital makes an app called Word Lens that reads text through a smartphone’s camera, translates the text into another language of your choice, and superimposes the translated text on top of the foreign language text seen through the camera. Word Lens now works on iPhone, Android, and Google Glass.

This is very handy for reading foreign language street signs or messages on business store fronts.

Here’s a look at the app in action:

Google intends to build the technology into its Google Translate apps, Quest Digital says. Google’s translation apps now rely on voice recognition to input words for translation. It will now get a visual input method.

Quest Digital sells a number of “language packs,” which are stored on the device. This means users need no network connection to use the app. That’s a smart approach, as network connections can be scarce when traveling abroad.

Quest Digital’s app is one of the more compelling applications of virtual reality we’ve seen. Turning a foreign reality into a familiar one through the screen of a smartphone is pretty powerful stuff.

The price Google is paying for Quest Digital has not been disclosed. Quest Digital, for its part, says it’ll be giving away its language packs as it transitions to Google.

Via: The Next Web

More about the companies and people from this article:

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21 comments
paulgailey
paulgailey

@barriemoran you'd be amazed using it on Glass. You had a try yet? I'm at SASCON with it soon. You coming?

Samson Mac
Samson Mac

I've had this on my phone as long as anyone else. I've also had it on Glass since December. It is night and day using Word Lens through Glass than a handset. You guys have been doing it wrong.

Wei Tsang
Wei Tsang

And yes GPS can definitely sort of do that currently, but GPS can't really do a good job of applying a visual overlay on top of a field of display.

Wei Tsang
Wei Tsang

Translation is a partially solved problem, augmented reality using glyphs for orientation hinting ala traditional augmented reality implementations is a much more interesting and compelling problem for the glass folks, and this would extend much beyond language translation, and more for augmenting visual field. Think looking at a sign of "broadway and 42nd" and getting a popup visual HUD of interesting current events and local sales (a nightmare and a possible blessing after the initial wave)

Wei Tsang
Wei Tsang

Probably technical talent acquisition for google glass.

Ann Shin
Ann Shin

Gazillionfund.com supports this kind of project.

R.j. Frasca
R.j. Frasca

Yep. Bing and Windows Phone have had this since WP8 debuted.

Julian Lycett
Julian Lycett

Had on my windows phone for over a year ... yawn.

João Beirao
João Beirao

Isn't that available already with Google Goggles?

Denise Newton
Denise Newton

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lionbytes
lionbytes

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N_S_H_1996
N_S_H_1996

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barriemoran
barriemoran

@paulgailey Glass yeah, this no :( Nope, not at SASCON, wish I was but other disposed. You well?