Facebook recently announced they have acquired Pittsburgh-based developer Mobile Technologies. The start-up is responsible for creating Jibbigo, an Android and iOS app launched in 2009 that allows users to make a voice recording or type in text then have it translated instantly to one of 24 other languages – either displayed back on screen or read aloud.
Reports suggest Facebook will continue to operate the app, which makes money by selling offline translator packs. In the interim, select members of the Mobile Technologies team will be transitioned to Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California.
In a post on the subject, Facebook’s director of product management Tom Stocky said the company has an amazing team that’s behind some of the world’s leading speech recognition and machine translation technology. He noted it has always been Facebook’s mission to make the world more open and connected and the acquisition will help evolve the social network’s products even more.
At present, Facebook uses Microsoft’s Bing to translate comments and News Feed posts. Having an in-house translation service – the suspected goal of the acquisition – could make the global language barrier a bit easier to overcome while at the same time becoming an integral feature of the site.
It’s unclear exactly how many Mobile Technologies employees will be relocated to Facebook although we do know that the ones making the move will join Facebook’s engineering teams. Additionally, terms of the deal were not publically disclosed.