Google’s Pixel Buds get new transcribe mode, attention alerts, and sharing detection

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Google is adding a number of new features to its Pixel Buds today. A new transcribe mode is designed to translate long speeches directly into your ears, which is ideal for if you’re listening to a lecture or speech where a single person is speaking in a language you don’t understand. The Pixel Buds have always supported a translation feature, but this transcribe mode is designed for one-way translation instead of conversations back and forth, and it’s a more discrete way to translate using the Buds. It will be available initially for French, German, Italian, and Spanish translation into English.

Alongside the new transcribe mode, Google is also adding some more audio options. A new bass boost mode enhances the bass you hear from the Pixel Buds. This pairs well with a better sharing detection feature, which now allows Pixel Buds users to share a single earbud with someone and have individual volume control over each earbud.

Google’s Pixel Buds.
Photo by Becca Farsace / The Verge

Google is also launching a new Pixel Buds experimental feature today. Attention Alerts are designed to alert Pixel Buds users of important events happening around them while they’re listening to music. If a baby cries nearby or an emergency vehicle passes by with its siren on, the Pixel Buds will automatically lower the volume temporarily so you can hear what’s happening around you.

If you’re someone who frequently misplaces your Pixel Buds, Google is also improving the ability to find them. While you can already ring the earbuds to find them, you can also now see their last known location on a map. Google Assistant is also getting some improvements on the Pixel Buds. You can now ask “how much battery life do I have left on my earbuds?” and Assistant will answer. You can also enable or disable the Pixel Buds’ touch controls through Google Assistant.

All of these new features are rolling out to Google’s Pixel Buds today.

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