It doesn’t quite look like the Universal Translator that Star Trek promised, but a new set of earbuds may prove more than ever that the future is now.
Look, we all want a jetpack and a hoverboard and a suit of titanium alloy armor, but being able to instantly communicate with people across the world as though language barriers don’t exist is really the more impressive of any of these feats. And it turns out, Google has just the thing.
Snuck into a recent Google presentation was the reveal of Google Pixel Buds, a set of earbuds that are designed to work with the new Pixel 2 handset. But while they have all the usual bells and whistles you expect of an earbud set (as well as a few extras), they added a brand new feature that tech groups and conglomerates have been trying to set up for years now—instant translation. Now, if you are wearing the buds, all you have to do is ask it to “Help me speak [insert language]” and your spoken words will be translated in realtime, then reissued by your phone’s speakers to the person you’re trying to chat with.
But that’s not a full translation, you say. You’re quite right. Which is why when your conversation partner replies to you, the words will be translated back into your language via the earbuds. With virtually zero lag time. Obviously it will all be a bit different out in the world with networks and patchy service, but this changes the game entirely in terms of global communication. Pixel Buds have access to 40 languages as well, putting them well ahead of the game next to other translating devices and apps.
I’m being very chill about this, which is ridiculous because the point is that the universal translator was finally invented and that means we must be really close to the Federation by now and where is Hoshi Sato, she is obviously responsible for this.
Get ready. We are gonna make so many new friends!