Today at its big event, Google announced a pair of wireless headphones it calls Pixel Buds. It looks a little like two mini Chromecast pucks connected with a cord that goes behind your neck. However the big thing here isn't how it looks, but the software features.
Most importantly, they allow you to get real-time translation with Google Translate. All you have to do is touch and hold the right headphone and it'll activate Translate on your Pixel or Pixel 2 smartphone (and yes, it only works for Pixel phones). Google did a demo of this on the stage, and it seemed to work pretty seamlessly and quickly.
Rated: Google Pixel Buds review
It's hard to gauge how well it'll all work with a more complex conversation rather than a simple (and likely rehearsed) demo, but we'll get a better sense for it when we put it through its paces.
Naturally, Pixel Buds also have Google Assistant built-in. You activate that by touch the right bud, and you'll be able to do all the things you expect to be able to do with the in-ear voice assistant. It's not clear yet whether you set the touch control for Assistant/Translate or if both can run at once.
While the Buds are pretty big, they also have some convenient gesture controls. There are swipes and touches to change songs, answer calls, and - thankfully - adjust volume when you're streaming music from your phone. The buds are essentially Google's answer to Apple's AirPods, though with more gesture controls and the flashy translation feature.
Like the AirPods, they also have a charging case that'll provide an extra couple full charges when you need it, and there is "Fast Pair" to quickly connect to your phone when you open the case. That only works on Android phones with Nougat or later, however.
Like the Pixel 2, the Pixel Buds come in three colors: "clearly white", "kinda blue", and "just black". You can pre-order them starting today for $159.99 but you'll have to wait six to seven weeks for shipping.
The Pixel Buds were only a part of Google's quest to empty your wallet this fall. The company also announced two new Google Home devices, the Max and Mini, a new Daydream View headset, and a wearable camera called Clips.
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