I recently had a chance to do a hands-on review of the new Google Pixel Buds 2. That was just a couple of weeks ago and already Google has dropped a bunch of new features for them.
What’s new with Google Pixel Buds 2
In short, with Google’s big feature drop, you’ll get more sound controls, including bass boost, a new translation experience in some languages, and, even more help from the Google Assistant.
These features will begin rolling out in stages starting on August 20th and they’ll be available through a firmware update which will automatically install when they’re connected to an Android 6.0+ device with Pixel Buds set up and automatic updates turned on.
New Pixel Buds 2 features
Bass boost on Pixel Buds 2
Need a little more oomph? Just turn on Bass Boost in the Pixel Buds sound settings. This new feature quite obviously adds a bit more low end bass into your listening.
Sharing detection & individual volume control
Now, when you split up your Pixel Buds to share with someone else, each of you can swipe on the bud to control the volume individually.
Sharing detection can be turned on or off in the Pixel Buds in-ear detection settings.
How to use sharing detection
With sharing detection enabled in the Pixel Buds settings, after about 5-10 seconds, each
person should hear a chime in the bud and that lets you know that sharing has been detected.
Find My Pixel Buds 2
More easily locate the earbuds by seeing where they were last connected with an Android device. Previously you could ring the buds, but this was quiet and imperfect. Now you can see the last known location (not current location) on a map. You will have to install and sign into Google Find My Device.
Transcribe mode on Google Translate
Building on the helpfulness of Pixel Buds’ conversation mode translate feature, which helps when you’re talking back and forth with another person, the new transcribe mode lets you follow along by reading the translated speech directly into your ear, helping you understand the gist of what’s being said during longer listening experiences.
Launching initially for French, German, Italian and Spanish speakers to translate English speech, transcribe mode can help you stay present in the moment and focus on the person
speaking. Ask Google Assistant to help you understand English with one of the Google Assistant queries
■ French: “Hey Google, aide-moi à comprendre l’anglais.”
■ German: “Hey Google, hilf mir, Englisch zu verstehen.”
■ Italian: “Hey Google, aiutami a capire l’inglese.”
■ Spanish: “Hey Google, ayúdame a entender inglés.”
This launches Google Translate in transcribe mode listening for the language you request (English) and translating to your default language (French, German, Italian or Spanish). Please ensure your language settings for Google Assistant and your phone are set to the default language that matches the query you are using (i.e. French, German, Italian or Spanish) and that you have updated the Google Translate app.
Text will be spoken only after each sentence has been translated. Transcribe mode works best in a quiet environment where one person is speaking at a time.
Experimental Attention Alerts on Pixel Buds 2
This new but cool experimental feature uses AI technology that aims to listen outside your earbuds environment for a few important sounds — a baby crying, dog barking, or emergency vehicle siren — and makes you aware when you’re wearing your earbuds.
The detection will happen locally on your device and Google says the data is not collected. When Attention Alerts is on and you are listening to audio with both earbuds in, your audio volume will lower for a moment and a chime will play when your earbuds detect one of the supported sounds. After a few seconds, your volume will return to normal. Individual alerts can be turned on or off, and Attention Alerts will not re-trigger within minute of the same sound.
Turn touch controls on or off with voice
If you’d rather not use touch controls for your earbuds, now you can turn them off and on in the Pixel Buds touch controls settings. Handy.
New Google Assistant queries
Google has also updated Google Assistant options to control your Pixel Buds 2 with your voice. Try:
○ “Hey Google, turn on/off touch controls.”
○ “Hey Google, what’s the battery on my earbuds?”
Overall, this is actually a pretty huge update for Google Pixel Buds 2. These new features turn an already amazing set of earbuds into an even more powerful multimedia and sharing tool.