Previously we have talked about Word Lens, one of the first truly practical apps using AR. In case you didn’t you about them, check this video out, this is what they did:
Word Lends is made by Quest Visual, last week Google bought Quest Visual. The initial and logical conclusion is that Google is buying this company to use their technology. It might be possible, but we -dare to speculate- that was not the reason for this acquisition. Google already has the technology and the software to do translation over Google Glass (i.e. using AR). This can be seen on this video (min 4). The video is from Nov. of last year on which they show up the new modalities of Google Glass, among which includes immersion, the one feature required to do AR over glass.
As such, Google already has the team and the knowledge similar to what Word Lens does, so they didn’t need the know-how from outside parties (unless -of course- the ones that made that demo to Google was Quest Visual). However, Google might need more people with that AR knowledge, and here is where Quest Visual acqui-hire comes to play. The acquisition might not be for the technology itself rather for the team know how on making this technology. We’ll see what this expanded team will amaze us!
Acqui-hire is fairly common strategy within tech startup in Silicon Valley. One example was this company trying to figure it out how to do interaction between computers and touch screens. So there was this crazy company called FingerWorks, which by mid 2000’s made touching technology so people can use their Mac’s with their fingers. The company that bought them was Apple, and the product they needed their input on touching was the future iPhone.