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App Review: World Lens

by | May 30, 2014 | Software & App Reviews | 0 comments

This week, the Testbirds team have stumbled across a pretty cool augmented reality app called the World Lens App. In this blog post, we’d like to share our first impression.

Word Lens

The initial reaction on opening the app is one of amazement. No internet connection and the ability to translate words instantly are amazingly useful tools to have on your phone. Imagine this: You are at an airport in a foreign country and cannot read the signs. Just let the app do a live translation!


The app first became available back in 2010 but this month the creators behind the App, Quest Visual, have been purchased by Google. No financial terms on the acquisition have been disclosed and very little has been announced following the acquisition; however it is easy to see why Google has snapped this one up. With a mission statement to make all world’s information searchable in any language, something Google Translate does very well directly on their website at the moment.

For those that have not heard of the app, World Lens uses the built-in cameras on smart phones and similar devices to immediately scan and identify foreign text (such as that found in a sign or a menu), and then translate and display the words in another language on the device’s display. The words are displayed in the original context on the original background and the translation is performed in real-time without connection to the internet.
Starting in the office, early tests show that text very close together is difficult to judge due to the slight hand movement. The font has to be simple. Sorry Lucida – but for the time being your handwriting is incompatible. It is clear that the app is most useful for reading signs and simple text. Surprisingly enough we don’t have too many signs lying around the office.

Our testing environment needed to change. We were on the hunt to find a location in Munich that has multi-language signs, to prove the use of the app and where we believe we would get the best results. So, our testing took us to Munich International Airport. I was on my way back to England, the perfect occasion to test the app under real world conditions.


A few snaps around the departure lounge have proven that the App is something quite special. The instantaneous translation on signs makes it a must have app for anyone. It’s extremely easy and convenient to use. You can see now why critics have put the case forward that the translation guide book is no longer needed. In conclusion, it seems that the hard part is done, the technology is there and with the backing of Google, it’s going to be exciting to see what products will have this technology implemented.

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About the author

Nilani Shan

Nilani Shan

PR & Marketing Manager



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Testbirds specialises in the testing of software such as apps, websites and Internet of Things applications by using innovative technologies and solutions. Under the slogan, “Testing Reality”, the company offers various testing methods to its clients looking to optimise the user-friendliness and functionality of their digital products. With over 250,000 registered testers located in 193 countries, Testbirds is one of the world’s leading crowdtesting providers. In addition, the IT service provider utilises cloud based technologies to support customers in the optimisation of their digital products. The combination of the two testing methods delivers a unique and extensive portfolio that takes the quality of software to the next level. Testbirds was founded in 2011 by Philipp Benkler, Georg Hansbauer and Markus Steinhauser. Today, the company has over 100 employees. Other than its headquarters in Munich, there are now offices in Amsterdam, London and Stockholm, franchises in Hungary and Russia and sales partners in Italy.

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