Google Translate is a pretty solid service already, but the search giant may be gearing up for a significant update to match Microsoft’s impressive new Skype Translator. The New York Times reports that Google has big plans to add real-time translations of its own in a couple of new ways.
The rumored update will apparently come to smartphones soon, giving your device the ability to automatically recognize when someone is speaking in a foreign language. Once that happens, Google will quickly translate whatever’s spoken into text. You’ll also be able to translate signs and other text by simply pointing your phone’s camera at it, a new feature we’ve expected ever since Google bought Word Lens over the summer.
In case you missed it, Skype Translator offers instant audio translation when using the video-calling service. It’s still in preview for Windows 8.1 devices, and Microsoft says it keeps getting smarter as more people try out the new program. Now that Google’s jumping into the real-time translation arena as well it should give Microsoft a push to improve its own service even more.