App review: Word Lens

App review: Word Lens
Word Lens sounds a little nerdy, but there's no doubting its cool factor. It takes printed words and tells you what they mean, all within an image on your smartphone.

It's easy to doubt the cool factor of Word Lens, which hints at some sort of way to magnify the dictionary. But the app is one of only a handful to debut for Google's hi-tech Glass headset now the software development kit has been released for developers to make native 'Glassware'.

In a sense Word Lens does magnify what's in the dictionary — it scans and translates printed words wherever you are.

That's a compelling reason to download the app if you're in a foreign country and want to know what's on the menu or what signs say. And you're not relying on a network connection.

Thanks to optical character recognition the translation happens inside the image, with the app detecting the printout, searching its dictionary, then revealing the translated words on your screen.

For $5.99 you get one language paired with English: Spanish, French, Italian, German or Portuguese, and you can buy the others inside the app.