Google Translate Gets a Boost From New Acquisition

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Today on its website, Quest Visual announced that it has been acquired by Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) for an undisclosed sum. The company is best known for making Word Lens, a mobile app that translates text viewed through your phone’s camera in real time. The employees of Quest Visual, and the Word Lens technology, will be brought into the fold with the team working on Google Translate.

The Word Lens app, which came out in 2010, works like this: Let’s say you’re in a restaurant in another country and you don’t speak the language, so you can’t read the menu. All you have to do is open the app and aim your device’s camera at a menu, and in real time the app makes it look like the menu is written in English. The technology seems pretty futuristic. And since Google is one of the companies doing the most to bring about a futuristic world with its software and gadgets, the acquisition seems like an smart choice for the Internet giant.

The acquisition seems especially smart when you consider that Google is still working to enhance Google Glass, the computer device that sits on eyewear and displays information on your lens as you go about your day. In fact, the app Word Lens is already available on Glass, as well as on Android and iOS.

In the announcement, Quest Visual writes, “With Word Lens, we’ve seen the beginnings of what’s possible when we harness the power of mobile devices to ‘see the world in your language.’ By joining Google, we can incorporate Quest Visual’s technology into Google Translate’s broad language coverage and translation capabilities in the future.”

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