Fresh iPhone Apps for Dec. 20: Word Lens, WikiLeaks, Friend Update

Dec 20, 2010
Tech

One of the best uses for augmented reality outside shooting down TIE fighters from Star Wars leads our Fresh Apps list today: it’s Word Lens, and it’ll translate Spanish words to English, or vice versa, instantly using your iPhone’s camera. Check it and some other cool stuff out below. Word Lens (iPhone) Free (add-ons for […]

One of the best uses for augmented reality outside shooting down TIE fighters from Star Wars leads our Fresh Apps list today: it’s Word Lens, and it’ll translate Spanish words to English, or vice versa, instantly using your iPhone’s camera. Check it and some other cool stuff out below.

Word Lens (iPhone) Free (add-ons for $4.99 each)

In one of the coolest uses of augmented reality yet, Word Lens performs one simple but amazing function. Turn on the app and it takes control of your iPhone’s camera — point the camera at a word on a sign, for example, and Word Lens translates it into the language you designate.

Currently there are only two available language packs, Spanish to English and English to Spanish, but more are undoubtedly on the way. Language packs will run you five bucks each, but this is a super-handy app for vacations in foreign countries. It also includes a fun demo to show off the app’s capabilities — either reversing English words, or erasing them from objects shown by your camera.

WikiLeaks App (iPhone, iPad) $1.99

Full access to the WikiLeaks website is available through this iOS app, allowing you to get hold of the latest in leaked government documents and other information available on the website. It’s a cool way to see what everybody on the news is talking about, straight from the source.

In addition to being able to read WikiLeaks content, you also get direct access to WikiLeaks’ Twitter feed, including items posted from Wikleaks itself and other people using the #wikileaks hashtag. And a dollar from every app purchase goes toward supporting websites that advocate Internet democracy, so you can feel good about your purchase.

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Friend Update (iPhone) $1.99

Adding your Twitter and Facebook accounts to Friend Update allows you to get status updates within the app — but instead of getting all the updates from every person you follow on Twitter and ever friend you have on Facebook, Friend Update lets you choose just a small contingent of people from whom to get updates. You can also use it to simultaneously post updates and photos to Twitter and Facebook.

The app has recently been updated to run a lot better, decreasing load times and fixing counters to let you know how many updates you have yet to view. Friend Update has also been tweaked so that you can view updates when you’re offline that you’ve already downloaded, without having to reconnect to the Internet.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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