At one point, as tensions were rising between Google and Apple, it seemed as if the search giant would forgo native app development on the iOS platform and instead only offer service those users through HTML5-based web apps. But lately, that approach has been changing, quickly. In just the past few months, we’ve seen apps like Google Voice, Latitude, and Places all launch natively. And today brings another: Google Translate.
Google Translate has previously been available on the iPhone via an HTML5 experience since mid 2008. But again, now iPhone users are getting a native experience with some significant new additions. Those include the awesome “speak-to-translate” and “listen to your translations”. Another new feature allows you to enlarge translated text to full-screen mode so you can more easily show it to someone you’re trying to communicate with.
Here’s Google’s overview of the main features:
Speak to translate
The new app accepts voice input for 15 languages, and—just like the web app—you can translate a word or phrase into one of more than 50 languages. For voice input, just press the microphone icon next to the text box and say what you want to translate.
Listen to your translations
You can also listen to your translations spoken out loud in one of 23 different languages. This feature uses the same new speech synthesizer voices as the desktop version of Google Translate we introduced last month.
Another feature that might come in handy is the ability to easily enlarge the translated text to full-screen size. This way, it’s much easier to read the text on the screen, or show the translation to the person you are communicating with. Just tap on the zoom icon to quickly zoom in.
It would seem that Google is still definitely favoring the Android version of their apps, as the Translate one on that platform has the awesome interpreter feature which isn’t found here (yet). But clearly, Google is starting to bet on native apps more heavily for the time-being rather than just the HTML5 variety.
You can now find the app in the App Store here globally.