Google has just bought developer Quest Visual and its mobile app Word Lens (iOS, Android; free), which uses your smartphone’s camera to translate text in real time. You have to see the magic for yourself.
The free app has used in-app purchases to charge for language packs in the past, but right now all languages are free. It’s not clear if this is a limited time deal, so I’d download it now if I were you, especially if you have an iOS device. It’s not perfect—and Quest Visual’s acquisition makes it unclear whether or not there will be any future updates (maybe that’s why it’s free?)—but even a rough translation helps you get the gist on the fly.
Since I’m going to Italy later this year, I’ve got to brush up on my Italian. I’ve been using Duolingo‘s mobile app (iOS, Android; free) and it’s been going awesome—that is, until I started slacking on my daily lessons….
Recently, Duolingo’s iOS app received an update to add a “Duel” mode, which allows users to compete in language challenges versus GameCenter friends, other Duolingo users, or a computer AI opponent. You can also, as always, add other Duolingo users to your Weekly Leaderboard to see who’s been earning the most XP.