The tiny headphones that come with our phones can already do pretty amazing things. Apple's wireless AirPods recognize when they're inside your ears, for example, and allow you to control many phone features all just by tapping them.
But they're not the only gadget like that on the market. On Wednesday, Google, one of Apple's biggest smartphone competitors, introduced their own wireless headphones: Pixel Buds. (Cute name!)
Hello there, phone!
The headphones are designed to pair best with Google's phone, the Pixel. Early reviews so far are pretty positive.
The buds sound good, and have a convenient cloth cord connecting the buds so that they can rest around your neck. You can also tap the right Pixel Bud to activate all kinds of nifty controls with your phone. Play. Pause. Volume up. Even ask questions of the Google Assistant, the company's virtual helper program. That's right. Press a button, ask a question, and a helpful computer voice will answer away.
It all sounds pretty nifty. But that's not what everyone is super excited about...
¿Quieres escuchar la mejor parte? ¡Traduce 40 idiomas inmediatamente!
Okay, for those who don't speak Spanish, that says, "Wanna hear the best part? It translates 40 languages immediately!" Which is exactly what these Pixel Buds allow you to do. By holding down the right bud and saying "help me speak Spanish", the Pixel Buds kick the phone's Google Translate program into gear.
You can say a phrase in English, and your phone's speakers will "say" that phrase translated into Spanish. And your new Spanish friend? She can speak to you in Spanish and an English translation is fed into your ears thanks to those Pixel Buds.
The technology is so smooth, reviewers say that this all happens pretty much instantly. (La tecnología es tan suave, los críticos dicen que todo esto sucede casi instantáneamente.)
Sure, nothing beats being able to actually speak and understand another language. But this is the closest yet that we've come to having a portable translator that breaks through language barriers. And in a world that is getting more multicultural every year, that can only be a good thing!