Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to speak and understand a language you've never learnt? Well, what if we say, your earphones will help you do that? Meet the Google Pixel Buds, Google's ambitious take on Apple's ear pods, but with a nice trick up its sleeve. The Pixel Buds will help translate up to 40 different languages in real-time.
The Pixel Buds are Google's first ever pair of wireless headphones that were announced alongside the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL on Wednesday. Mind you, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL smartphones do not come with a 3.5mm audio jack port, hence the need for wireless earbuds similar to that of Apple's. But unlike the Apple Earpods, the Pixel Buds are attached by a cable that would rest on the back of your neck.
The main highlight of the Pixel Buds, however, is that the earbuds can translate 40 languages in real time, among other things. To trigger the real-time translation you just need to hold down on the right earbud and say for example, "Help me speak Japanese," and talk (in your own language), your phone's speaker will say the Japanese translation out loud. When the other person replies in Japanese, you will be able to hear the translated version in your language through the Pixel Buds.
Apart from real-time translations, the simple-looking Pixel Buds also allow users to access Google Assistant. The method to trigger Google Assistant is the same touch and hold on the right earbud trick. Only this time you can ask Google Assistant to play music, make a phone call or get directions without pulling your phone out from the pocket.
The idea of simultaneous translation, however, is not new as we have seen various other devices, often very expensive, that enable real-time translation. The first picture that comes to our mind is the bulky headphones that some world leaders wear at international conferences where there are speakers of different languages. But then again they employ human translators who translate the languages in real-time.
However, Google is not the first tech-giant to have attempted the possibilities of AI with its Pixel Buds. Microsoft too has come out with a speech-to-speech translation app called "Skype Translator" back in 2014. The app translates about 4 languages over a Skype call and 50 languages over Instant Messaging. But the translation is in "near real-time" and not exactly "real-time."
The Pixel Buds are currently available for pre-order $159 in the US and will be available in November in Canada, UK, Germany, Australia and Singapore. They come in the same exciting colour scheme as the Pixel phones – Just Black, Clearly White and Kinda Blue.