Facebook announced via a post by Director of Product Management Tom Stocky that it agreed to acquire speech-recognition and machine-translation startup Mobile Technologies, developer of speech-to-speech translator application Jibbigo.
Facebook did not reveal terms of the transaction, nor how many members of the Mobile Technologies team would be joining the social network’s ranks.
As for the Jibbigo app, Facebook told TechCrunch:
We’ll continue to support the app for the time being.
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. With this deal, we will welcome some of the industry’s most talented people to our engineering teams in Menlo Park, Calif.
It has always been our mission to make the world more open and connected. Although more than 1 billion people around the world already use Facebook every month, we are always looking for ways to help connect the rest of the world, as well. 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. We believe this acquisition is an investment in our long-term product road map as we continue towards our company’s mission.
And Mobile Technologies wrote in an announcement on the Jibbigo website:
We are excited to announce that Facebook has agreed to acquire Mobile Technologies, and that once the deal has closed, many of us will be joining the company at its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.
Mobile Technologies was founded in 2001 with the goal of breaking through language barriers to open up communication between the people of the world. With 6,000 languages in the world, the language divide presents the greatest human communication challenge. Mobile Technologies has developed a number of cross-lingual communication tools, including Jibbigo, the world’s first speech-to-speech translator on a phone that runs online and even offline, independent from the Internet. Travelers around the world use Jibbigo to communicate in foreign countries, and health-care workers overcome the language challenge in humanitarian missions. Mobile Technologies also developed and deployed the first automatic, simultaneous interpretation service for lectures and deployed it in educational settings, so that ideas can transcend nations and cultures.
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. We look forward to continuing to develop our technology at Facebook and finding new and interesting ways to apply it to Facebook’s long-term product road map.
Readers: How do you think Facebook will incorporate Mobile Technologies’ work into its future offerings?