Google took everyone by surprise when it launched a pair of Bluetooth-enabled wireless earphones, Pixel Buds, at its fall event in San Francisco.
During an interaction with the media, Google product manager Adam Champy for said: “Pixel Buds is our first wireless headset. They are Bluetooth headphones designed to really blend in when they are worn. Honestly, they are designed to make the electronics disappear. That’s why on the cord you don’t see any comboxes and on the device you actually don’t see any physical buttons; everything is delivered in a unified, streamlined body.”
Google Pixel Buds have a wire connecting the two earpieces, unlike Apple AirPods. It has a touch-sensitive control on the right bud, which you can tap to play or pause music, change volume or long-press to talk to Google Assistant. The right hand side also houses two microphones. Pixel Buds have a battery which the company claims will last five hours on a single charge. They also come with a charging case that can hold up to 24 hours of battery life.
“Usually devices in this class have a very thin or hollow sound. We worked with audio engineers to deliver something much richer so that when you are wearing the headphone it feels good and sounds good,” Champy added.
Champy said: “We are delivering a headphone that’s probably the best to access Google Assistant. We looked at everything. We looked at where should it actually rest which is one of the reasons why it’s a corded headphone. The other one is that it should be on your ear easily and when you speak you actually just touch to engage with the Assistant.”
But the interesting thing about the Pixel Buds is the integration of Google Translate. The feature lets two Pixel Buds wearers converse in their native languages by translating conversations in real time. In the demo, it was impressive to see how two people had a conversation with each other, both using their local languages. The feature translated the languages for each user in real time, without any lag or delay. Google claims Pixel Buds can translate in 40 different languages, including Hindi. This surely is a unique feature, which cannot be found on Apple’s AirPods at the moment.
The wireless earphones market is on the verge of becoming reinvented. The earbuds are taking advantage of AI-powered voice assistants, be it Google Assistant or Siri, to become more aware of the surroundings. This has been made possible because of continues investment in machine learning and artificial intelligence by the likes of Google and Apple.