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First Pixel Buds feature drop adds bass boost, Attention Alerts, and disabling touch controls

The first “feature drop” — a parlance from Google phones — for Pixel Buds is today, and Google is introducing a slew of new capabilities. Highlights include bass boost, sharing detection, and Attention Alerts.

Google starts by addressing how people want “more control and customization over their audio experience.” Users can now directly enhance and “boost bass” from the Pixel Buds settings “app.” 

Meanwhile, “sharing detection” lets you give a bud to somebody else and seperate volume control:

When on, sharing detection automatically detects when you’re sharing an earbud with someone and you can both individually swipe on your respective earbud to control your own volume. So whether you’re listening to music or watching a movie with a friend, you can seamlessly share your Pixel Buds. 

Pixel Buds are picking up a new transcribe mode that 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.” This is first available for French, German, Italian, and Spanish speakers translating into English. Google recommends that there only be one speaker in a quiet room:

For example, simply say “Hey Google, ayúdame a entender inglés” to start listening, and optionally follow along on your phone screen to see the translated transcript. 

Attention Alerts, which we first spotted in April, are launching as an experimental feature. When dogs bark, babies cry, or sirens drive by, Pixel Buds will automatically lower the volume. 

Another convenient feature lets you use Assistant (or settings) to turn on/off touch controls and avoid accidental triggers. A new voice command also lets you ask about on-device battery life: “Hey Google, what’s the battery on my earbuds?”

Lastly, the Assistant headphones now appear in the Find My Device app and provide the last known location. 

The first Pixel Buds feature drop is rolling out starting today “in stages.” Be on the lookout for firmware 550 with the following fixes:

  • Improved connection stability during calls 
  • Better autorecovery when one or both earbuds lose connection
  • Improved media playback stability for phones that have software audio encoding
  • Fixed issue where one earbud fails to connect when removed from the case

The US Google Store today are started selling the Pixel Buds in Just Black, Oh So Orange, and Quite Mint.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: