The Pixel Buds finally landed here in Australia just a few weeks ago and by all reports have been well received. Google have made them even more attractive now with the release of a feature drop — just as they do for Pixel smartphones — that brings new features along with bug fixes.
The new features include bass boost and sharing detection. The bass boost is fair self explanatory when a slider in the Pixel Buds settings app has been added that will boost bass — there is no fine control of this feature, it is either on or not.
Sharing detection is a nice addition and allows you to share an ear bud with a friend with the friend able to control the volume themselves without changing the volume on the ear bud still in your ear. When either earbud is them removed from someone’s ear the earbuds will detect that sharing is no longer occurring and the volumes and earbuds will sync back up again.
Building on the Pixel Buds’ conversation mode translate feature 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.” At this stage this feature is launching only for French, German, Italian and Spanish speakers to translate English speech the transcribe feature is designed to allow you to focus on the person speaking without having to keep looking at your phone for the translation.
Other notable additions in the feature drop include Attention Alerts. Attention Alerts use Google’s AI technology to detect “a few important sounds” around you and make you aware of them when they happen by lowering the volume and playing a chime. This detection is all done on-device without anything uploaded to Google. At this stage the alerts are limited to baby crying, dog barking and emergency vehicle siren (I wonder if it works for all different sirens around the world — those European sirens are very different).
One issue some have had with the Pixel Buds is accidentally triggering the touch controls. You can now turn them off using Google Assistant. “Hey Google, turn off touch controls” or change the settings within the Pixel Buds app. Google Assistant will now also be able to tell you the battery life of your Pixel Buds.
This feature drop is rolling out today and although it has not landed on ours just yet we will keep an eye out for it. Let us know if your Pixel Buds have it yet and what you think about it.