Google's New True Wireless Pixel Buds Mimic Two Key AirPods Features

Google launched its second-generation Pixel Buds this week to generally favorable reviews, thanks in part to a couple of new features that AirPods owners have appreciated for some time.


The new Pixel Buds use a pairing process on Android 6.0+ phones called Fast Pair: Hold the case near your phone, flip the lid, and a screen pops up on the screen to indicate automatic pairing, which links them to the user's Google account.

Apart from the obvious UI differences, that's pretty much identical to the way you connect a pair of AirPods to iPhone. But the similarities don't stop there. Google is also making it easier to find misplaced Pixel Buds. From Google's blog:

It can be frustrating when you put your Bluetooth headphones down and immediately forget where you placed them. If they’re connected to your phone, you can locate your headphones by ringing them… And, when you misplace your headphones, in the coming months, you can check their last known location in the Find My Device app if you have Location History turned on.

Sound familiar? Apple's ‌Find My‌ app includes a Find my AirPods feature that plays a tone to help users recover nearby ‌‌AirPods‌ connected to iPhone or iPad. It also shows the last known location of ‌AirPods‌ if they're no longer connected.

Credit where it's due, Google appears to have implemented the features well, including notifying users when the earbuds and case battery are running low upon connection. The company says it plans to include its Fast Pair technology in other audio accessories, just like Apple added its instant-pairing W1 and H1 chips to its wireless Beats line.

The new Pixel Buds are compatible with iOS, but don't expect the new seamless pairing features to work with ‌iPhone‌ (the same goes for ‌AirPods‌ on Android). Unlike AirPods Pro, Pixel Buds don't include active noise canceling either, instead offering something called Adaptive Sound that automatically adjusts the volume based on the wearer's surroundings.

Features like Adaptive Sound and other settings are accessible in the Pixel Buds app on devices running Android 6.0 and later. The Pixel Buds software is also built into the settings menu as a system-level app on Pixel phones. Google's new Pixel Buds are priced at $179 in the U.S. and can be ordered on the Google Play Store.

Top Rated Comments

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Avatar
14 weeks ago


Yeah, I will never be interested in Android devices.

I hate how Google blatantly copies Apple. Seriously, they cannot come up with a different name for their version of the "Find My" app?! They have their own people to come up with names for features, and you are telling they could not come up with something different, or they just do not care?

Sorry for the mini-rant. I know we are used to Google copying Apple, it just really annoys me!

:apple:

Erm, I’m quite an Apple fanboi, but I don’t think it’s very fair to suggest this is a one way street. Aren’t control centre and notification centre both copied from Android? And the tiles-based app switcher is from some other, now defunct, mobile OS isn’t it?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago


Yeah, I will never be interested in Android devices.

I hate how Google blatantly copies Apple. Seriously, they cannot come up with a different name for their version of the "Find My" app?! They have their own people to come up with names for features, and you are telling they could not come up with something different, or they just do not care?

Sorry for the mini-rant. I know we are used to Google copying Apple, it just really annoys me!

:apple:

I have a house full of Apple products and I am sending this from my iMac. But lets be real here. All companies copy from each other. We the customer benefit greatly from this practice.
Apple has copied things from the Android space numerous times. Heck the ability to copy and paste....any iPhone with a display larger than 4.7 inch is thanks to coping Android phones. Then there is wireless charging OLED displays and so many more features.
I for one am thankful they copy from each other.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago


Erm, I’m quite an Apple fanboi, but I don’t think it’s very fair to suggest this is a one way street. Aren’t control centre and notification centre both copied from Android? And the tiles-based app switcher is from some other, now defunct, mobile OS isn’t it?

WebOS. I was one of the 35 people who loved it.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago


Yeah, I will never be interested in Android devices.

I hate how Google blatantly copies Apple. Seriously, they cannot come up with a different name for their version of the "Find My" app?! They have their own people to come up with names for features, and you are telling they could not come up with something different, or they just do not care?

Sorry for the mini-rant. I know we are used to Google copying Apple, it just really annoys me!

:apple:

"Good artists copy, great artists steal ... We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas." Who said that? I always forget ;)
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago
Quite amazing how Android articles draw almost immediate responses from so many people who are all quick to state they have no interest in the item. Presumably not helped by the stirring tone of the article.

Back on topic: The buds seem a bit bulky to me, keen to hear how they compare for longer duration wear, exercise and the Airpod Pro's weakest trait - sound quality. Shame they don't have ANC so presumably, not pass through.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
14 weeks ago


Erm, I’m quite an Apple fanboi, but I don’t think it’s very fair to suggest this is a one way street. Aren’t control centre and notification centre both copied from Android? And the tiles-based app switcher is from some other, now defunct, mobile OS isn’t it?

There are always lots of people who think companies (Samsung/Google etc) always copy Apple.
Last year when Samsung upgraded to their latest wireless earbuds, people insisted that these had been copied from Airpods.
Even after explaining that Samsung had released a pair of wireless ear buds with a charging carry case with a snap lid called Gear Icon X BEFORE Apple even announced Airpods, one person still maintained they were an AirPod rip-off, because they were available in white. Along with black and a blue colour. Bizarre.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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