Google gobbles up Quest Visual Word Lens, but for Translate or Glass?

Google has acquired Quest Visual, a tech upstart which specializes two technologies that are right up Google’s alley. Quest Visual makes Word Lens, a third party Google Glass app for Android and iOS which allows wearers to get translations from one spoken word language into another. But is Google gobbling this startup in order to further Glass app development, or is this more about enhancing the output of the popular Google Translate website? Actually, it could be a combination of both.

Even as Google attempts to foster third party Glass app innovation, it’ll need a stable of in-house apps it can bundle with the hardware when it decides to officially put the finished Glass hardware on sale to the general public. Word Lens has been one of the more promising apps in that regard, showing off the kinds of things that the wearable eyeglass technology can offer to mainstream consumers.

But Google Translate is also sorely in need of polish. It’s gained popularity largely on account of being less unreliable than competing translation sites over the years like Babelfish, and has yet to take the next step from basic rudimentary word swapping to the kind of complex translations that can be used in actual conversation. The technology inherent in Word Lens can make that possible.

Phil Moore

Phil Moore

Phil covers tech for Stabley Times.