Tech Trends: Google Pixel Buds, A Cost-Effective Translator for Small Businesses?
Companies have been announcing new products like their hosting an award show for a while now. Usually they’re announcing slight upgrades or changes to their products that we yawn through, knowing that it’s not that big of a deal. But this time around, Google introduced something that could change the world as we know it.
With the introduction of the Pixel Buds, what can small businesses gain? Let’s explore what Pixel Buds are, and how a real-time voice translator could be BIG news.
What are Google Pixel Buds?
Pixel Buds are Google’s first pair of premium Bluetooth headphones. They have all the functionality you’re used to with regular wireless headphones, but they also have the potential to translate 40 languages in real-time! People are splitting hairs on the term “wireless.” So, while the left and right ear bud are connected to each other by a cord, they connect wirelessly to devices, so ipso facto wireless.
These headphones work with any smartphone running iOS 10.0 or higher, or Android 5.0 or higher. But the translation services only work on devices with Google Assistant – which means you must have a Pixel or Pixel 2 to take advantage of this cool feature. There’s the catch you were waiting for.
When you pair the headphones to the Pixel or Pixel 2, the earbuds can connect with Google Assistant. By touching and holding the right earbud, you can activate Google Assistant and ask for help translating a language. Right now, it can translate 40 languages in real-time.
There are similar products on the market, like iTranslate Voice, Microsoft Translator, and even iPhone Siri – but never before with voice, in real time, in over 40 languages.
Translation and Small Business
In today’s economy, breaking down barriers of language is a must. Unfortunately, small businesses don’t always have the ability to communicate globally, or even in their own sandbox. Think about it – large pockets across the United States, and even throughout Los Angeles, speak other languages besides English.
There’s great value in voice translation software. It could be used at call centers, by customer service representatives, to communicate with suppliers, or even the ability to service broader demographics.
The problem has been that most existing translation applications aren’t timely. Usually they work by converting the first spoken language into text. That text is then translated into the new language, and then read aloud. That can create quite a lag if you’re trying to have a conversation.
Based on the Google Pixel Buds demonstration, theirs works in real time. There’s only a lapse of about 15 seconds between spoken phrase and translation.
This opens new business doors and levels the playing field for small businesses who can’t compete with big business budgets. Google might be on the brink of changing language barriers as we know it forever.
What’s Next for Pixel Buds?
The product is now in pre-order, but Google still has some work to do.
The case doubles as a charging station, but is awkward and hard to get the speaker back in. There’s also the question of WiFi connection. How will varying levels of WiFi strength react with the translators’ ability to perform? The pre-order is sold out, so it looks like there will be many of these headphones hitting the streets soon. Hopefully once they’ve been tested by thousands of people in the real world, these questions and concerns will be answered.
What’s going on in the world of business IT? We keep your finger on the pulse of it all.
Our monthly Tech Trends article will keep you in the loop and show you what's on the horizon of IT.