Home / World / SEE IT: Google earpiece fails to translate basic talk in Brooklyn

SEE IT: Google earpiece fails to translate basic talk in Brooklyn


Google’s high-tech headphones were lost in translation on the streets of Brooklyn.


The wireless Bluetooth Pixel Buds touted as a revolutionary real-time translator of 40 languages failed to pick up simple conversations on a noisy sidewalk of Williamsburg, according to a Daily News product test.


“Today is a nice fall day,” a News reporter said in English into a Pixel 2 smart phone to a coffee shop barista seeking a Japanese translation. “There’s lots of birds flying around and people walking around and taking the subway.”


“Today is very cold,” the $159 headphones spit out in Japanese to Tomohiro Baba, 29, who is from the country’s Hyogo region.


The touted translator appeared to struggle with the background noise from the street, and there was frequently a seven- to eight-second delay.


A Google bigwig unveiled the device onstage on Oct. 4 in San Francisco.


During that presentation, Google product manager Juston Payne talked in English to a staffer whose native language is Swedish.


That test went off without a hitch.


The earphones are “like having a personal translator by your side,” he said.


The headphones — which began shipping out to preorder customers on Friday — include a stylish storage case that doubles as a charger for up to five hours of use.


Users must download the Google Translation app. Afterward, they simply tap and hold the earbud and ask for a translation in a specific language.

Google’s new Pixel Buds (pictured), which are touted as a real-time translator, struggled to pick up basic conversations on a noisy Williamsburg sidewalk.

(Todd Maisel/New York Daily News)


For conversations, users must pick up the dialogue with the phone’s microphone.


The app also struggled to translate from Arabic to English at a Williamsburg bodega.


“Al salaam alaikum” said Abdul Alsaidi, 19, who works at Seven Seas Grocery on Bushwick Ave.


The translated text didn’t display and no sound came through the earbuds. Other attempts were similarly unsuccessful.


The test wasn’t a total failure.


In several quiet rooms, the translator device was more effective. It was consistently able to translate from French and Spanish to English during multiple tests.

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