When Google signals the end of ads for English lessons in the metro
Google Pixel Buds
While your memories of English irregular verbs fade with the passing years, Google has just launched an instant translation tool in its new Google Pixels Buds earphones. The multifunctional earphone are also smarter as they are equipped with Google Assistant which then becomes a personal assistant.
These Pixels Buds with Google Assistant will remind you of your next appointment with a customer. They can also read the content of the last text message received by your colleague in preparation for the same meeting, all this without you needing to take out your smartphone.
But the most impressive feature of these earphones is their integrated translation function, which will certainly be good for anyone “who are looking for Brian in the kitchen” but no good for all the foreign language schools whose advertisements have proliferated in the metro for many years.
If you are even lost right in the centre of Seoul, without a smattering of Korean, you can press the right-hand earphone and ask Google to speak Korean for instance then in your native language. The earphone will translate into Korean. Then the answer of the person you are speaking to will be translated into French in the earphones. 40 languages will be available for translation.
Beyond the fact that it will obviously be increasingly complicated to promote foreign language courses with this type of tool at one’s disposal, it is also an opportunity for the tourism industry, because the language barrier can at times discourage people from going to certain countries.
More generally, apart from the linguistic aspect, the Pixels Buds are in the process of mapping out how the smartphones of tomorrow will be used, as they will mostly remain in our bags or jeans pockets, acting as digital hubs. We will access information and orders through voice recognition via a connected watch, earphones or soon connected glasses. Indeed, the Pixels Buds are in line with one of Google’s latest innovations, produced in partnership with clothing brand Levi’s: the Jacquard project.
This concerns Levi’s Commuter jacket, which is equipped with smart fabric: a new generation of textiles with which you can control your telephone simply by touching the jacket, without the need to take your phone out of your pocket.
Apple, Amazon or Google are all banking on the man-machine interface via voice recognition, as this appears to be the most natural way for human beings to communicate. In 10 years’ time, will we all be speaking to our earphones or glasses in the street?