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Friday, May 16, 2014, 12:04 pm PT (03:04 pm ET)

Google buys developer of featured iPhone app 'Word Lens'

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.