Those of you lucky enough to be visiting Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics might not have opulent luxuries like floors or potable water, but at least getting around town will be a little easier thanks to the Word Lens app. The developers added support for Russian today, allowing users to translate signs, menus, and other text on the fly.
If you've never used Word Lens, then you really should, at least if you're frequently traveling to places that don't speak your native language.
Many Google apps received a redesign in time for the launch of KitKat, but the Google Translate app was not one of them. Well, its day is fast approaching. The app is now receiving an update that introduces a new look and other tweaks.
The camera, microphone, and handwriting input options have been moved to the top, and results appear in a clean list below. This should make getting useful translations that much easier.
The dream of technology liberating us from the burden of having to learn new languages in order to travel is nothing new. Sci-Fi fans are aware of the possibility that future generations of mankind will use universal translators that can translate whatever language aliens may speak. In our lifetimes, though, smartphones hold the potential to remove the language barrier (we can hope, at least). But what if you don't want to have to whip our your smartphone constantly?
Vocre, a voice and text translator that won audience choice in TechCrunch's Disrupt, came to Android today, bringing with it a promising challenger to Google's own Translate app and a "tabletop UI" meant specifically for extended conversations with those on either side of the language barrier.
As shown in the video above, Vocre's interface is exceedingly simple. Users need only select languages and genders, then record their message, check for accuracy, and let the app do the rest.
In addition to Google Search, the Google Translate, Authenticator, and Voice apps - along with five others - have been updated today as well, though these revisions aren't quite as exciting as new Google Now cards.
First, the Translate app received a bump to 2.5.3, adding text recognition via the camera translate function for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Handwriting recognition has been added for a number of new languages, as well, including: Afrikaans, Croatian, Czech, Icelandic, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Slovak, Slovenian, Ukrainian, and Welsh.
Earlier today, Google rolled out a brand new feature for its online patent research tool: prior art search. Now, while looking at a patent, you can click a single button to pull up a host of results from Google Patents, Google Scholar, Google Books, with a bit of Google's typical search results sprinkled on top. The goal, of course, is to aid in researching whether a patent that's been filed is "new and not obvious." Which is far more complex than it sounds.
Google Translate, the frequently-overlooked wonder app of the 3rd millennium, got some new features today. Chief among them is an amazing new image-based translation mechanism. The app now supports use of your camera to take a picture of the text you would like to translate. Once that's done, just "brush" over the word or phrase you need to read and Translate will do what it says on the tin: render that text in your preferred language.
I first saw Word Lens for iOS on TechCrunch back in 2010 and instantly fell in love with the concept - just point the camera at foreign words, and all of them get translated in front of your very eyes, live. Amazing, isn't it? If you haven't seen this promo video yet, watch it first:
Every month since, I searched the Play Store for Word Lens, hoping its developers brought it to our favorite OS, but found nothing.
The headlines keep rolling in today - first, Google began selling the Galaxy Nexus online, and now, Mountain View has accidentally published details about its exciting interesting... new cloud service.
Update: In a nutshell, you'll be able to make and share documents and presentations, in addition to having access to your videos, photos, Google Docs, and PDFs; Android interaction will include an app for both phones and tablets.
The news was posted earlier today on Google's French blog before being taken down shortly thereafter; however, Google+ user Gerwin Sturm managed to catch it just in time.