Google’s Pixel Buds are Bluetooth headphones with Assistant and live translation
During Google’s event this week, there was a lot more than just the Pixel phones that were announced, they also showed off the Pixel Buds. These are a pair of Bluetooth headphones that put the power of Google Assistant in your ears.
Like many of the new Bluetooth headphones being released these days, the Pixel Buds come with a handy charging case. Since the Pixel Buds only last about 5 hours on a charge, it’s a good thing you’ll have the case nearby to extend that on the fly. The case can add up to 24 hours of battery life.
Unfortunately, these are not truly wireless like many other recent Bluetooth headphones, like Apple’s AirPods. One thing you might notice is the lack of in-line controls and this is by design. The Pixel Buds are controlled through the right earbud through a series of taps and swipes. Changing volume is as easy as swiping forward or backward and to play or pause music you simply tap the right earbud.
The controls are not the most impressive feature of the Pixel Buds, nor is the design or the sound quality. Not that all of those aren’t impressive, but the power of Google Assistant is what really makes these headphones shine. With the power of Assistant, all you have to do is touch and hold the right earbud to access Assistant and ask it to play your music, make a phone call, or get directions. The Pixel Buds also alert you to incoming messages and will even read them to you, allowing your phone to stay in your pocket.
All of that sounds pretty great, but what stole the show was Google’s demo of real-time translation. Wait, what? That’s right, the Pixel Buds paired with your Pixel phone allow for real-time communication in 40 different languages. As shown in this impressive demo clip below as two Google team members have a conversation using Swedish and English. All you have to do is long press the right earbud and say “help me speak Spanish” or any other of the 40 supported languages. As you speak your words will be translated and played through the speaker on your Pixel phone, while what the other person says is translated and played back through your Pixel Buds in your native language. This demo blew my mind and shows me a glimpse of the future I want to live in.
Now if that’s got you excited and it should, you can pre-order a pair now although they won’t be available until November when they launch in the US, Canada, U.K, Germany, Australia, and Singapore. The Pixel Buds come in Kinda Blue, Just Black, and Clearly White and will set you back $159. Remember, if you’re planning on purchasing a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL Google removed the headphone jack this year, so that’s another reason you might wanna add the Pixel Buds to your shopping list.