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Google Confirms Important Pixel Buds Feature Update Coming

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Jay McGregorSenior ContributorConsumer Tech

Google’s recently released Pixel Buds 2 will receive their own “feature drops” – feature updates that Google introduced to its Pixel phones last December – the company has confirmed to me.

Google didn’t elaborate on the contents of the first drop, or give me a date, but it did say that Pixel Bud drops will not happen at the same time as Pixel phone updates.

A company representative explained that “the goal will be to continue to introduce new helpful features over time, much like we do with Pixel phones”.

Since their inception last December, feature drops for Google’s Pixel phones have added a number of meaty new features that go beyond typical bug-fix updates.

The last two drops introduced Assistant-enabled call screening, car crash detection, faster access to payment methods called “cards and passes”, improved selfies, a new motion sense gesture, AR effects in Duo and much more.

The idea, Google argues, is to keep its hardware refreshed with regular software updates, explaining that “your phone should get better over time”. Google’s unique advantage in AI and services makes all of this possible.

What can we expect?

Whilst Google is staying tight-lipped about what will be in the first Pixel Buds feature drop, there are a couple of areas ripe for an update down the line. Introducing EQ settings, for example, is something the search company may consider in the future – although it tends to favour a pared-down, automated experience across all of its hardware and software.

Other potential improvements may also include better real-time language translation that moves more of the process away from the phone, bringing it closer to what the original Pixel Buds promised to do (or, at least, appeared to) in 2017.

Elsewhere we may see more integration between Pixel specific apps and the Pixel Buds, as I commented in a previous story about the future of the new wireless headphones.

“The AI-boosted Recorder app – for example – which automatically transcribes voices (with proper punctuation), could find a new lease of life with the Pixel Buds. Film producers reeling off half-baked movie ideas can finally move away from the dictaphone.

“For everyone else, an entirely hands-free voice transcription service – that costs nothing and is very accurate – benefits anyone who has to commit words to digital paper regularly.”

Google tells me that it won’t be releasing any information about the contents of the first Pixel Bud feature drop until closer to the official launch date, which could be months. But the promise of substantial new software features – that are typically reserved for new device launches – adds another layer of value for money to the Pixel Buds.

What do you want to see in the first Pixel Bud feature drop? Let me know.

Wording in the first sentence of this article was updated to clarify that the Pixel Buds will not receive quarterly “feature drop” updates. Google hasn’t released the exact timing or regularity of future updates for the Pixel Buds

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