Google buys visual translation app Word Lens

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Word Lens isn’t perfect. It has trouble with particularly stylized text or handwriting, and the translations will make occasional mistakes. However, most of the time, it will at least get the point across.

No financial terms on the acquisition, which was announced on Quest Visual’s website, were disclosed. Neither company shared details on what the future holds for Word Lens either, other than the website saying that the app and language packs would be “free to download for a limited time,” while the Quest Visual team transitions to Google. Individual language packs previously cost $3 each.

The app itself is free to download from the App Store for both the iPhone and iPad, and I couldn’t recommend it more highly. The translations are available via an in-app purchase, though they are currently free. It’s also available on the Google Play Store for Android users.

Because we don’t know how long Word Lens will remain on the stores, I recommend that you pick it up as soon as possible, particularly if you travel internationally.

Word Lens is truly one of the killer apps for mobile, and it should be a staple on every phone. Here’s hoping that Google keeps it around in some form or another and doesn’t kill it off.

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