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Looking for a great free app to download for the weekend? Google has you covered. The Apple rival just bought the beloved Word Lens app that lets you use your camera to translate text on real-life objects in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Russian immediately, and for now, it's completely free.
Google plans to "incorporate [the] technology into Google Translate's broad language coverage," which means we may soon see a version of it on Google's popular translation site. It's quite amazing. If you're stuck in an airport in a foreign country and you're not sure what a sign says, you can use your iPhone's camera in conjunction with the app to see the translation in real time. It's sort of a benign version of the sunglasses in 1988's They Live, and no matter how often I use it, it feels like something that belongs to science fiction.
Previously the translation packs required a $4.99 purchase for each language set, but now they're all free, as evidenced by a succession of listings of $0.00 in the in-app purchase screen. Developer Quest Visual says "the app and the language packs free to download for a limited time while we transition to Google," though, so it's possible the paid purchases could return in the future. (Seems doubtful, though, considering Google's emphasis on free services.)
You can download it for free from the App Store here.
Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.