Google acquires Quest Visual to integrate its Word Lens augmented reality technology into Google Translate

Google acquires Quest Visual to integrate its Word Lens augmented reality technology into Google Translate ...

Google today announced it is acquiring Quest Visual, the startup best known for its augmented reality app Word Lens Translator. Available for Android, iOS, and Google Glass, the app can instantly translate printed words it sees through your device’s camera.

In its announcement, Quest Visual says it is joining Google so that it can incorporate the Word Lens technology into “Google Translate’s broad language coverage and translation capabilities.” Given that Google Translate has become the standard for free translation services, this deal should be exciting for not just those involved, but for anyone who uses the company’s translation tools on the go.


As part of the deal, Quest Visual has been given the green light to make both its app and accompanying language packs free to download “for a limited time while we transition to Google.” In other words, you should take advantage before Google pulls them.

In case you’ve never seen Word Lens in action, here’s the original video that caught the world’s attention over three years ago:

Quest Visual was founded by former video game developer Otavio Good in 2009. Word Lens 1.0 was released in December 2010 for iOS, followed later by an Android version in July 2012 and a Google Glass release in November 2013.

We have contacted Google about its latest acquisition. We will update this article if and when we hear back.

Update: A Google spokesperson has confirmed the acquisition to TNW but declined to disclose the terms of the deal or provide any comments on the record. The company believes Quest Visual has a strong team and great technology that will be a good fit for Google’s translate team.

See also – Google Translate gets support for nine new languages, bringing total to 80 and Google Translate now supports handwriting input in 45 languages

Top Image Credit: Kimhiro Hoshino/Getty Images

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