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Facebook acquire Mobile Technologies

Facebook have acquired the company responsible for speech translation application Jibbigo. Mobile Technologies are based in Pittsburgh and it signals a move for Facebook into strengthening their platform.

Facebook have said that they will continue to support Jibbigo for ‘the time being’. The application was launched in 2009 and allows the user to select from over 25 languages, record a voice snippet in that language or key in some text directly. The software will then handle a translation on screen and even read it aloud in a language you have selected.

The application was actively used by people travelling and even for international health care workers. There was also no need for a wifi or data connection.

Some of the team will be joining the Facebook engineering teams in Menlo Park although Techcrunch said that they did not detail numbers or the exact terms of the deal.

Facebook’s Tom Stocky wrote on Facebook ‘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.’

The Jibbigo team wrote ‘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.’

The possibilities in the future are obvious. Facebook could handle automatic translation, allowing people in different countries to chat directly without the need for Google translate or similar. News could also be taken in one language and displayed in another automatically to suit the user. Facebook have already tried to translate news feeds and comments with the help of Microsoft’s Bing, which also powers translation for Twitter.

Kitguru says: Seems like a good move forward for Facebook.

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