In what appears to be a move to make the network more accessible, Facebook announced its acquisition of Mobile Technologies, a company that specializes in speech recognition software.
A More Connected Facebook
Social networking is all about being able to reach people you might not normally connect with, but this isn't always easy. With its purchase of Mobile Technologies, Facebook will be able to give people a different way to use the network that doesn't involve typing on a keyboard or using a sub-par language translator.
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,” wrote Tom Stocky, the network’s director of product management.
Stocky also mentioned that Facebook doesn't yet have any official developments or projects for this software, but encourages members to give suggestions and provide feedback if they have an idea.
It could make it easier for users of different languages to read each other’s posts, or to chat," wrote Josh Wolford. "As of now, Facebook’s translation is powered by Bing, but this makes it seem like Facebook is at least considering bringing translation services under its own umbrella."
Translation Tools from Mobile Technologies
Founded in 2001, Mobile Technologies is a translation tools developer with its flagship product being Jibbigo, a speech-to-speech phone translator that can work in both an offline and online mode. According to a statement on the company’s website, Jibbigo is used by anyone who is in a foreign country from the everyday traveller to humanitarians. Languages that Jibbigo supports include Arabic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Thai and Traditional Chinese.
The Jibbigo app
The company also created an "interpretation service" for lectures, so that schools and other education centers could use it in classroom settings and make sure that all those in attendance can understand what is being said.
In becoming part of the Facebook community Mobile Technologies says it will work with the social network to improve its technology as part of Facebook’s “long-term road map.”
Members of the Mobile Technologies team will also join Facebook in California, but other terms of the deal, such as the purchase price and if the Jibbigo app will continue to be updated haven’t been released.