Facebook Acquires Speech Translation Company Mobile Technologies, Makers of Offline Translation App JibbigoBy: Josh Wolford - August 13, 2013
Facebook has just announced that they have acquired Mobile Technologies, a language software developer who is best known as the makers of the Jibbigo app.
Mobile Technologies’ team will head to Menlo Park to join Facebook’s engineering team.
“I’m excited to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Mobile Technologies, a company with an amazing team that’s behind some of the world’s leading speech recognition and machine translation technology. With this deal we will welcome some of the industry’s most talented people to our engineering teams in Menlo Park, California,” said Facebook’s Director of Product Management Tom Stocky in a post.
“It has always been our mission to make the world more open and connected. Although more than a billion people around the world already use Facebook every month, we are always looking for ways to help connect the rest of the world as well. Voice technology has become an increasingly important way for people to navigate mobile devices and the web, and this technology will help us evolve our products to match that evolution. We believe this acquisition is an investment in our long-term product roadmap as we continue towards our company’s mission.”
Mobile Technologies was founded back in 2001, and they launched the popular Jibbigo app in 2009. Jibbigo allows users to say a phrase in one language and have in translated (and read back to them) in another language. Jibbigo has the distinction of being the first offline speech translation app. As of today, Jibbigo supports English, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Thai, and Traditional Chinese.
“Facebook, with its mission to make the world more open and connected, provides the perfect platform to apply our technology at a truly global scale. We look forward to continuing to develop our technology at Facebook and finding new and interesting ways to apply it to Facebook’s long-term product roadmap,” said Jibbigo in a statement. “We’re excited about the opportunities ahead and the opportunity to take the dream of a world without language barriers to yet another level.”
It’s obvious that this acquisition could help Facebook get much better at translation – especially any language challenges that pop up concerning future voice search, or dictation. It could make it easier for users of different languages to read each other’s posts, or to chat. As of now, Facebook’s translation is powered by Bing – but this makes it seem like Facebook is at least considering brining translation services under its own umbrella.