Google brings Lens text translations to KaiOS phones in India

The feature supports seven Indian languages and English.


One of the more useful features you can access through Assistant on Android and iOS is Google Lens translations. The tool allows you to snap a photo of something in the real world and let Lens transcribe the text into a language you can read. Google is now making that functionality available on KaiOS phones in India.

KaiOS, if you need a refresher, is an operating system for feature phones that includes select Google services. As of last year, the software was running on more than 80 million devices globally. And by one estimate, it passed iOS in 2018 to become the second-most popular mobile operating system in India.

The update adds a dedicated "Camera translate" button to KaiOS’ version of Assistant. By tapping the icon, Indian users can snap a photo of a product label, street sign or document, and Assistant will translate the text into English, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi or Tamil. Support for two other languages -- Kannada and Gujarati -- is coming soon. Like its smartphone counterpart, Assistant on KaiOS can also read words out loud, as well as define them.

"This is another step in our commitment to make language more accessible to everyone," Google said. "... we hope this will enable millions of KaiOS users across the country to have a more seamless language experience."

Since its initial $22 million investment in KaiOS back in 2018, Google has worked with the company to make more of its marquee apps and services available on the platform. The move also comes on the heels of a separate expansion Google made into India. Last week, the company bought a $4.5 billion stake in Jio, the country's largest wireless carrier. The two said they would develop low-cost Android phones as part of the partnership.