Google's New Intelligent Earbuds Can Translate Foreign Languages

There’s a new and formidable presence in the smart headphone market — Google.

On Wednesday morning the company revealed Google Pixel Buds, intelligent wireless earbuds linked by a cloth cord that run Google Assistant. Touch controls on the right earbud to activate Google Assistant and control audio. Google says Pixel Buds are optimized for audio (obviously), but the slickest feature by far is translation. Tethered to an Android phone, the buds can do nearly real-time translation in 40 languages. An onstage demo at the company’s Oct. 4 event was simple but impressive: an English/Swedish conversation translated in real time.

Pixel Buds offer about five hours of listening time on a single charge, and they ship with a charging case that can ratchet that up to about 24 hours. Google’s offering them in three colors — Kinda Blue, Just Black, and Clearly White — for $159. Pre-orders start today, and the devices ship in November.

The smart headphone market is already well populated — Doppler Labs’ Here One, Bragi’s Dash and Headphone, Samsung’s Gear IconX, and Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay E8, to name a few. But the largest player seems to be Apple’s AirPods. Unveiled in September of 2016 and officially launched in December, the cigarette-shaped wireless buds have carved out a sizable portion of the wireless headphone market. Apple hasn’t provided actual sales numbers for them, but NPD reports that about 85% of all money spent on completely wireless headphones in the US is spent on AirPods.

It’s impossible to predict how Google Pixel Buds will be received when they arrive at market, but their real-time translation feature is certainly a powerful differentiator if it works as smoothly as it appeared to onstage today. That may not be an easy feat in the wild — a busy street or night market is a very different scenario from the controlled onstage one we saw today.

John Paczkowski is the managing editor for BuzzFeed San Francisco. Formerly deputy managing editor for Re/code and AllThingsD, he’s been covering the intersection of technology and culture since 1997.

Contact John Paczkowski at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

We Interviewed KARD, A Talented Co-Ed Group Shaking Up The K-Pop World

When asked what they want people to take away from KARD’s music, Jiwoo said “energy” and BM added “positive vibes” and “happiness.”

He went on to recount a fan who really struck a chord when he came up to him and said, “yo, KARD’s music helps me with my anxiety.” He then added his own two cents: “if KARD’s music puts out that type of energy I think it gives it a bigger meaning than just music.”

Tom Petty Hospitalized With Unknown Condition After 911 Call To His Home

Iconic rocker Tom Petty has been hospitalized in Los Angeles, officials confirmed Monday.

Petty, 66, gained worldwide fame as the lead singer and guitarist of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, with whom he was celebrating four decades together during their 40th anniversary tour that wrapped up last week at the Hollywood Bowl. He’s best known for songs like “Free Fallin’,” “American Girl,” “I Won’t Back Down,” “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” and “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” with many memorable music videos to accompany.

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s official told BuzzFeed News they responded to Petty’s Malibu home at 10:50 p.m. Sunday after receiving a 911 call. Petty was transported to UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, but the official could not confirm the singer’s condition or reports that he was clinging to life.

A representative for the hospital also declined to comment, citing patient privacy laws. And representatives for Petty did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Reports of the singer’s death earlier on Monday also added to the confusion. Those reports cited police but were based on “initial information” that was “inadvertently provided to some media sources,” the LAPD tweeted Monday.

“However, the LAPD has no investigative role in this matter,” the department added. “We apologize for any inconvenience in this reporting.”

Born Oct. 20, 1950, Petty told NPR’s Fresh Air in an interview in 2006 that he knew he wanted to be a musician after seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show when he was young. “It was something I identified with. I had never been hugely into sports….I had been a big fan of Elvis. But I really saw in the Beatles that here’s something I could do,” the Florida native and the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer said. “I knew I could do it.”

Petty’s musical aspirations were not just fueled with this knowing, but as an escape. From his childhood to his final days, Petty combined powerhouse melodies with sturdy rock and hooks for days, from his choruses to deft guitar solos and riffs.

“I did go through a lot of my life with a short fuse where I could erupt into a serious rage. … I think that was a product of my childhood, when I had some serious abuse,” he told Uncut of growing up with his father in Gainesville. “I started to learn and retrace what had happened to me and why I was that way. It became quite clear to me why. And once you know why something is happening, you know how to fix it.”

The songwriter would eventually go on to become one of the best-selling rock and touring acts of all time, releasing 10 studio albums with the Heartbreakers, and three more on his own.

The only Heartbreakers album to ever reach No. 1 on The Billboard 200 chart was the band’s last, Hypnotic Eye, released July 2014.

Petty was also part of the Grammy Award-winning supergroup The Traveling Wilburys, with George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, and Jeff Lynne. They released two albums, one after Orbison died in 1990, though they never toured together.

The Heartbreakers’ 40th anniversary tour was scheduled for more than 60 stops this year; they were slated to take the stage in New York for two additional dates in November.

In December, he told Rolling Stone that this stint might be the last “big” outing for him and his band, which includes guitarist Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench on keys, bassist Ron Blair, multi-instrumentalist Scott Thurston, and drummer Steve Ferrone.

Campbell, Tench, and Petty started performing together in their first band, Mudcrutch, when Petty was just 17. Mudcrutch eventually reunited and released a self-titled album in 2008 and a second set, 2, in 2016.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates and follow BuzzFeed News on Twitter.

Are You More “Pure Heroine” Or “Melodrama”?

You got: “Pure Heroine”

You’re introspective and tend to be introverted. You may have a hard time relating to others, but that doesn’t bother you much. For you, the world is confusing and big, and you don’t always know what to think of it, but you’re able to channel what you experience into thoughtful art. Although you’re quiet, you’re not meek, and you give off an enigmatic vibe that stuns and mystifies others who may not think and perceive the world as deeply as you.

"Pure Heroine"
You got: “Melodrama”

You’re the life of the party! Everywhere you go, the world seems to spin around you, and the glitz and the glam of life amazes you. However, sometimes the intensity and fake-ness of it all just seems like a little too much, and you can make rash or impulsive decisions out of anxiety or confusion. Regardless, you always push through, and the hard times are what continue to shape you into the complex and fascinating person you are. You burn bright and fast, just like a star.