Featured iOS App ‘Word Lens’ Acquired by Google

Word Lens on the App Store on iTunes 2014-05-16 15-48-51 2014-05-16 15-48-53

Word Lens–an app that originally launched on iOS 4 years ago–and its parent company, Quest Visual, are now under the ownership of Google according to a post of Quest Visual’s website. The app, which translates words seen through a smartphone camera and displays them on-screen in real time, wasn’t released on Android for almost two years after originally being touted for use with the iPhone 3GS.

Interestingly enough, this app was recently featured in Apple’s “Powerful” ad, a TV promotion which showed a variety of applications and their “powerful” uses when paired with an iPhone 5s. Other apps shown in the below TV spot include Luminair, AmpliTube, and StarWalk.

The announcement in full, as posted at Quest Visual:

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.

As a thank you to everybody who supported us on our journey, we’ve made both the app and the language packs free to download for a limited time while we transition to Google.

We’re looking forward to continuing our work at Google – stay tuned!

Even more interesting regarding this transition is that the application, on top of being featured in the above advertisement, is listed on Apple’s website on a page created for the ad itself along with all of the other apps featured in the ad.


The good news is that Google won’t likely be pulling Word Lens from the App Store. While Apple doesn’t currently have any apps published to the Play Store, Google has more than 30 counting just the iPhone; this will likely be just another addition to that huge number.

Why was the app acquired by Google? There hasn’t been any official word yet, but it’s said that the Word Lens team will be joining Google Translate. Notably, and potentially something that spurred this acquisition, is that the Word Lens team recently launched an app for Google Glass.

How do you feel about Word Lens being picked up by Google?

[via 9to5Mac]

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  • http://foyzulhassan.com/ Foyzul Hassan

    its cool, it makes sense anyway,something google could maybe have done anyway if it wasnt for patents perhaps

  • Kraken

    This is the first acquisition I’ve ever been excited about. Word Lens is amazing technology, and with the funding of Google, the day when we can translate anything just by pointing our phone at it might become a reality.

  • Noneya

    Clearly this will be used for GLASS. Imagine walking down the street, looking at a sign in a language completely foreign to you and immediately knowing exactly what it says. Id love to try this on some of the menus written in a foreign language w/ GLASS. What would be even better is if they could take this concept and apply it to spoken languages. 2 people speaking 2 completely different languages but still understand what the other person is saying.