At an event unveiling several new Google products on Wednesday, the search engine giant revealed one of its coolest new products yet: Google’s innovative Pixel Buds can translate up to 40 languages in real time for its wearers. 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 the 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, Swedish, Thai or one of the other 40 languages.) 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.
Sean Hollister, an editor from CNET, also gave a quick demonstration of the earbuds. In this video, he has a conversation in English and Japanese.