Yesterday, Google announced the Google Pixel 2 smartphones, new Google Home speakers and a new pair of Bluetooth earbuds that are as smart as Apple’s AirPods, or maybe even smarter. The Pixel Buds offer the ease of use of wireless headphones, along with the stability and convenience of AI.
Google has officially cemented the fate of headphone jacks and smartphone users may not appreciate the transition to wireless. But Google is trying to make it a transition worth doing, by making AI the central focus of the earbuds. In terms of usability, the buds are connected by a cord which can loop behind the user’s neck, much like other modern Bluetooth earbuds nowadays.
The Pixel Buds are originally mean to act as a direct competitor to Apple’s AirPods, with the difference being that Google Assistant plays a more primary role here, offering intuitive features for the user such as live translating, interaction with the assistant and every other feature that the AI is known for on the smartphone. Translation is the most effective feature that Google has been highlighting regarding its new buds.
The Pixel Buds can live translate up to 40 different languages, functioning as a kind of universal translator. With the combination of a Pixel smartphone and the Pixel Buds, users will be able to receive translation, as well as speak in the translated language should they choose, with the Pixel’s speakers offering the voice output when translating. Currently, this is the only way to maximise the usage of the Pixel Buds’ translation abilities, and while there are still a few bugs, the software is bound to improve in the coming months of its usage.
According to Engadget, the new Pixel Buds will also come with their own charging case like the Air Pods and should offer 24 hours of charge entirely. In order to control the volume and playlist of the songs playing, users will be able to use gestures on the right ear-piece such as tapping and swiping. With Google Assistant, the Pixel Buds will also be able to offer driving directions when Maps is open on the smartphone.
Notably, the best feature of the earbuds is the ability to live translate and never make users handicapped in a compromising spot when traveling. Costing $160, which is in the same price range as the Air Pods, Google will most likely win this round of the wireless Bluetooth earbuds, with near-zero lag time on the offering for live translations. Google has just made wireless earbuds a lot more interesting.