Google buys developer of featured iPhone app 'Word Lens'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 2014
Shortly after the iOS translation app "Word Lens" was featured in a prominent iPhone commercial from Apple, the developer behind the app has been snapped up by rival Google.




Quest Visual, the startup responsible for Word Lens translator available for iOS as well as Android and Google Glass, is now owned by Google, the developer announced on its website. There it revealed that Google plans to integrate Word Lens functionality into its own translation services.

Quest Visual said the change will allow its technology to provide "broad language coverage and translation capabilities in the future."

Following news of the acquisition, the developer has made both the Word Lens app and all of its language packs available free for a limited time.

Word Lens was featured prominently in Apple's "Powerful" ad for the iPhone 5s that debuted last month. In the commercial, a man on a motorcycle translates a road sign that reads "estrada desmoronado" in Galician to discover it says "road collapsed" in English.

The Word Lens app is unique in that it takes a live camera feed from the iPhone and replaces the foreign text in real time to allow the user to read the words as they were intended.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 122
    "The Word Lens app is unique in that it takes a live camera feed from the iPhone and replaces the foreign text in real time to allow the user to read the words as they were intended."

    As they were "intended?" I'm fairly sure the words were intended to be written in their native language. :)

    (A better way to put this might be to say that it replaces the foreign text in real time to allow the user to "understand" the words as they were intended.)
  • Reply 2 of 122
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member

    Was going to download this.

     

    Not now.

  • Reply 3 of 122
    gregnacugregnacu Posts: 29member

    Good-bye word lens.  Don't you love how Google buys up everything cool?

     

    I don't want Apple to buy up companies just to protect them, but it seems like the only way to prevent Google or Facebook or some other company from snatching them up.

     

    I just pisses me off that cool tech companies doing neat stuff end up being owned by Companies whose products and services I don't want to touch with a ten-foot pole.  I mean now what? I'll never get to use Nest, or WordLense, or Occulus Rift.  Like, F-off big goliathes that I hate.

  • Reply 4 of 122
    I just wish support for asian languages was made before they got bought out%u2026 would have really loved to have had support for Korean, Chinese and Japanese. Sigh, oh well.
  • Reply 5 of 122
    magman1979magman1979 Posts: 1,122member

    And here I was thinking about downloading this app, now that Google got it's ugly paws on it, no way. Shame, was looking like a useful app to have.

  • Reply 6 of 122
    It looks like the OS wars are being taken to the next level.
  • Reply 7 of 122
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,744member
    I already own the app, so getting the rest of the language packs for free is a bonus for me. Coincidently, I was just thinking about buying one yesterday, so even better.

    Don't like it in the hands of Google as it will just become another data mining tool but for now, free is free.
  • Reply 8 of 122

    The optimist in me hopes that maybe with Google's resources, something like this could get added faster than an indie developer could ever do.

  • Reply 9 of 122
    bighypebighype Posts: 148member

    Great, now there's zero good translation apps on App Store. All that's left are useless dictionary apps. 

     

    When I traveled to Japan, I bought an Android phone so I could use Google Goggles and real-time translation (Word Lens didn't even support Japanese).

     

    But don't worry guys, Timmy 'T.Diddy' Cook has bought fashion accessories company for $3.2 BILLION and he also bought the sapphire glass factory. Soon, our iPhones will be fashion accessories with nothing really useful on them because Google will buy up all the good/important stuff.

     

    Tim Cook = Steve Ballmer.

  • Reply 10 of 122
    gregnacu wrote: »
    Good-bye word lens.  Don't you love how Google buys up everything cool?

    I don't want Apple to buy up companies just to protect them, but it seems like the only way to prevent Google or Facebook or some other company from snatching them up.

    I just pisses me off that cool tech companies doing neat stuff end up being owned by Companies whose products and services I don't want to touch with a ten-foot pole.  I mean now what? I'll never get to use Nest, or WordLense, or Occulus Rift.  Like, F-off big goliathes that I hate.

    I am curious what is so bad about Google buying this. So far whenever Google makes an acquisition they either improve it or merge it into an all ready existing product. I prefer Google buying things like this because I know the app can still be used by all of my friends regardless of is. When apple buys an app its almost certain thing that app or service will go apple only.
  • Reply 11 of 122
    macvictamacvicta Posts: 346member
    Instead of bitching and moaning about Google, you should be lamenting the fact that Apple lacked the foresight to buy such a potentially transformative app and integrate it into their own operating system. Apple looked at it and only saw a neat commercial.
  • Reply 12 of 122
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,452member

    The joy of a monopoly.

  • Reply 13 of 122
    bighypebighype Posts: 148member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacVicta View Post



    Instead of bitching and moaning about Google, you should be lamenting the fact that Apple lacked the foresight to buy such a potentially transformative app and integrate it into their own operating system. Instead Apple only saw a neat commercial.

     

    Apple's becoming a fashion company under Cook's horrible leadership. This is expected.

     

    Facebook is buying communications, VR, AI companies, Google's buying AI, robotics companies and Apple's buying urban/ghetto fashion brands.

  • Reply 14 of 122
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,452member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacVicta View Post



    Instead of bitching and moaning about Google, you should be lamenting the fact that Apple lacked the foresight to buy such a potentially transformative app and integrate it into their own operating system. Instead Apple only saw a neat commercial.

    How do you know Apple didn't consider the purchase and was outbid?

  • Reply 15 of 122
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,438member
    The Word Lens app is unique in that it takes a live camera feed from the iPhone and replaces the foreign text in real time to allow the user to read the words as they were intended.

    Wait, what?™

    If I see a sign I would assume the words on it are written as intended, not a smartphone app that displays a translation of those words. If that was the intension of the maker of the sign, why didn't they write that? This sentence doesn't make sense - at all.
  • Reply 16 of 122
    hydrhydr Posts: 146member

    I love this app, it´s a great travel app. I got all languages bought, and was hoping they would add more. 

     

    For sure Google will incorporate it into the camera app with a simple "translate" button, select language and boom. You can now instantly read everything in any languages they implement. 

     

    Too bad apple did not see this opportunity, Steve sure would.

  • Reply 17 of 122
    macvictamacvicta Posts: 346member
    cpsro wrote: »
    How do you know Apple didn't consider the purchase and was outbid?
    Why should anyone be able to outbid Apple?
  • Reply 18 of 122
    tastowetastowe Posts: 108member
    The google is worse company
  • Reply 19 of 122
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,142member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

    Was going to download this.

     

    Not now.


     

    That's ok, I'll download it for you. So will many others.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by gregnacu View Post

     

    Good-bye word lens.  Don't you love how Google buys up everything cool?

     

    I don't want Apple to buy up companies just to protect them, but it seems like the only way to prevent Google or Facebook or some other company from snatching them up.

     

    I just pisses me off that cool tech companies doing neat stuff end up being owned by Companies whose products and services I don't want to touch with a ten-foot pole.  I mean now what? I'll never get to use Nest, or WordLense, or Occulus Rift.  Like, F-off big goliathes that I hate.


     

    So you are saying no other company is supposed to buy other companies except for Apple? Apple is the only company allowed to make products? 

  • Reply 20 of 122
    bighypebighype Posts: 148member
    cpsro wrote: »
    How do you know Apple didn't consider the purchase and was outbid?

    Apple can spend BILLIONS of mediocre ghetto headphones but they can't spend few dozen million on real-time translation?
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