Quest Visual, who have an incredible technology in Word Lens that replaces foreign words with your native language using your device camera, has been acquired by Google. The functionality is said to be moving right into Google Translate, which is a natural fit. Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed at the time of publication.
Word Lens is a tirelessly straightforward, but a touch limited. It replaces Russian, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese with the English counterpart, which encompasses a great deal of the world — but eliminates huge swathes of people. Those languages often have fairly straightforward English word replacements and syntax rules.
Get into an Asian language, and it’s not so cut and dry. That’s where Google can make great use of Word Lens. By comparison, Google Translate supports nearly 350 languages.
Translate offers a similar service, where you snap a picture of a sign and wait for it to translate. Word Lens is much quicker, using the video capabilities to translate in real-time. It might end up making Translate a bit bulkier, though, as it requires local storage of languages to work so quickly.
Then again, Google may turn it into a cloud-based service. A few I/O sessions mentioned cloud services as a focus, so maybe Google will work to that end. Google confirmed to TechCrunch the acquisition was as much about the tech as the team, where all are expected to migrate into Translate eminently.