Google has unveiled wireless headphones that can translate up to 40 languages in real-time, among other functions the device can perform.
When the Google Pixel Buds are paired with a new handset, the Google Pixel 2, the earbuds can access Google Assistant, Google’s artificially intelligent voice-activated product.
Google Assistant can also alert users to notifications, send texts and give directions. The translation feature can be activated by saying “help me speak French,” or any other language.
The controls, including swiping controls for volume, are built into the right earbud.
“It’s an incredible application of Google Translate powered by machine learning — it’s like having a personal translator by your side,” said Payne, Google product manager.
Payne and his colleagues demonstrated a conversation between Swedish and English.
During the demonstration, one employee, speaking Swedish, had Pixel Buds and the Pixel phone. When the phone was addressed in English, the earbuds translated the phrase into Swedish in her ear. The Swedish speaker then spoke back in Swedish through the earbuds by pressing on the right bud to summon Google Assistant. Google Assistant translated that Swedish reply back into an English phrase, which was played through the phone’s speakers so the English speaker could hear.
While this idea might sound far-fetched, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told investors in January that Google Translate was set to make big leaps this year.
The earbuds will be available in November for $159.