Yep, they’re the real-life, modern version of a Babel fish, and that’s not even all they can do.
The wireless earbuds work by connecting to their user’s phone and accessing Google Assistant, which can then use Google Translate to listen to and translate foreign languages. To access Google Assistant, all you have to do is touch and hold the right earbud and say, “Help me speak Spanish.” (Of course, you could also request French or Swedish or Thai.)
The earbuds will then listen and translate Spanish words into English for you (using your earbuds), and translate your English sentences into Spanish (through your phone’s speaker).
Users haven’t been able to report how accurate the earbuds’ translation skills are, but a demonstration that took place at an event in San Francisco reportedly showed the Pixel Buds absolutely nailing a Swedish-to-English conversation. And even if the earbuds end up hitting a few snags (after all, Google Translate has come up with some rather creative results for me in the past), they’re bound to be a better, faster alternative than frantically typing a needed translation into Google.
The Google Pixel Buds’ ability to access Google Assistant means you can also just press an earbud and request workout music, tell the digital assistant to send a text to a friend, or ask, “How long will it take me to get to work?”
The Pixel Buds will be available for purchase in November, and they come with their very own charging case in three different colors (Just Black, Clearly White and Kinda Blue). According to Google, a single charge will fuel the earbuds for about five hours, and each Pixel Bud set will retail at $159. Sign up online to join the waiting list.