Google was expected to push out a drastically improved version of its translation app in the near future, but it looks like the new version of Google Translate has arrived even sooner than expected. The company revealed the upgraded service for Android and iOS today, introducing a couple of new features that should prove extremely useful for world travelers.
The first improvement is instant text translation, thanks to the overdue integration of Word Lens, which Google bought over the summer. In the past, you could snap a photo of foreign text to get a quick Google translation using the app. Now, you can simply point the viewfinder at the sign in question and get an even faster translation. The new feature works without an Internet connection, though for now it’s limited to just a handful of languages, including French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
Google also added a “conversation mode” that should make it possible to communicate with anyone using your smartphone. Simply tap the microphone icon in the app and start talking. Google Translate will quickly figure out which two languages are being spoken and offer written translations of everything you say.
Google says the update should roll out to both Android and iOS within the next few days. We just checked and the update was not yet available in either Google Play or Apple’s App Store, but you can hit the source links below to see for yourself.