Announced at Google Developer Conference 2016, Google Assistant debuted with Google’s chat app Allo and its voice-based speaker Google Home. Later, in the same year, Google Assistant was launched for smartphones, exclusive to Google Pixel and Pixel XL in the start. However, just after few months, Google announced that Assistant would be available for all Android smartphones running Android Marshmallow and above versions. Currently, Google Assistant is available on all Android smartphones running Android 6.0+ (except tablets), as a standalone app for iOS, integrated with Android Wear 2.0, and would soon be included in future versions of Android TV and Android Auto.
Now one would think that these are the only devices on which the benefits of Google Assistant can be enjoyed. But there’s a new line of Google Assistant enabled devices coming near you. Sound company Bose recently launched a new headphone in the market that has Google Assistant built-in. And this is only the beginning of a whole new genre of smart wireless headphones with AI assistant’s built-in.
Also read: Google Assistant Tips and Tricks.
Dubbed as Bose QC35 II, it is the successor to the Bose’s popular QC 35 premium headphones launched last year. Coupled with superior noise-canceling technique, Bose QC35 II lets you ask Google almost anything and perform all tasks possible with Google Assistant.
Google also launched its own Google Assistant earphone called Pixel Buds at an event recently in San Francisco. And they ship with even better Google Assistant integration than Bose QC35 II does. Using Google Assistant on the Pixel Buds is easier too as you just have to tap on the earphone to access assistant, even better, it’s pre-optimized to live translate languages for you.
We’ll discuss both the Google Assistant headphones and earphones from Bose and Google itself in detail below. However, know that these Google Assistant headphones are available in very limited regions currently, you may have to order these from abroad if you want one.
Best Google Assistant Headphones
Bose QC35 II
Based on last year’s popular Bose QC 35 headphones, the only difference between the current model and the previous one is the official support for Google Assistant and adjustable noise cancellation settings (we don’t need to explain that).
However, talking about Google Assistant, it is not present as a dedicated service on the headphone, instead, it integrates support for Assistant based features such as voice commands for making calls, sending messages, music playback, and playing incoming notifications and helping you with day to day tasks such as weather details, nearby restaurants, sports score etc.
Check out: How to turn off Google Assistant
Similar to the Google Assistant on smartphones, Assistant on headphones also offer a conversational and two-way experience. And of course, what better than interacting with your phone without using your phone. All you need to do is tap the Google Assistant button on the Bose QC35 II headphone and you are ready to interact with your phone. Whether you want to call someone, send messages or check notifications, Google Assistant on your headphone can do all that for you without the need to touch your screen even once.
In terms of design too, much hasn’t changed except the addition of a dedicated action button for Google Assistant. Present on the left earcup, the dedicated button that lets your headphones communicate with the Google Assistant can be programmed for other functions especially noise cancellation, in case you are not friends with the Google Assistant.
On the right earcup, you will find volume and power buttons that are within easy reach. The micro-USB port for charging is also present on the right earcup. Furthermore, the headphones include a 3.5mm headphone jack, too. So, if you like the cable, or in situations when headset’s battery dies you can connect the headphone using the jack too.
Oh, and, the headphones are comfortable, too.
Pixel Buds are the first Google Assistant earphones, and also the first earphones under the Pixel branding. They are designed for comfort, great audio quality and are ready to go around for your sports endeavours.
One of the most highlighting features of Pixel Buds is the ability to translate languages in real-time through Google Translate. This is of course a feature of Google Assistant and all Assistant powered headphones should be able to do this. But Pixel Buds are specially optimized for this task. To get real-time translation through Pixel Buds, all you’ve to do is tap and hold on the right earbud, and then have someone speak a foreign language into your phone to hear the translation in your language right into your Pixel Buds. Currently, Pixel Buds support language translation between 40 languages.
Note: Pixel Buds real-time translation is only supported on Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL devices.
Pixel Buds are currently available in limited quantity and in limited regions only. But you should be able to easily get them in a couple of months from now.
How to use Google Assistant Headphones
Google Assistant is available on all Android devices running on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and above versions of Android. If you’ve signed into your Google account on your Android phone, you should already have Assistant installed, there’s nothing else you need to do. Just pair your Google Assistant headphone/earphone to the phone over Bluetooth and you’re ready to go.
For iPhone, you have to first install the Google Assistant app on your device, and sign-in with your Google account. After that, connect your Google Assistant headphones to your iPhone via Bluetooth, and then open the Assistant app and follow the on-screen instructions.
After setting it up, just tap the Assistant button once on the headphone to listen to the notifications. To talk to Google Assistant, press and hold the Assistant button OR if you’re have Pixel Buds just tap and hold on the right earbud to talk to Google Assistant.
In a nutshell, you can do a lot of things through Google Assistant on your headphone without having to touch your phone such as play news, find nearby restaurants, hear incoming messages and calendar events. You can also control music playback like access playlist, change or skip song etc. Similarly, you can make calls directly from your headphone using usual Assistant commands like “Call Mom” without taking the phone out from the pocket and dialing the number on your phone.
Google Assistant headphones and earphones: Pricing and availability
Bose QC35 II: Priced at $349 in US.
└ Available in USA, Australia, Canada, Germany, France and UK.
Google Pixel Buds: Priced at $159 in US
└ USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany
The updated Bose QC35 or Bose QC35 II is available for the same price as the original QC 35 i.e. $349 in the U.S. As far as the availability goes, Bose QC35 II with Assistant on board is available in USA, Australia, Canada, Germany, France and UK.