Risk vs. Reward


SAN FRANCISCO—To accompany the new Pixel smartphones announced Wednesday, Google debuted new wireless earbuds, dubbed “Pixel Buds.” These are Google’s first wireless earbuds that are built to be used with Pixel smartphones, but they also give users access to Google Translate so they can have conversations with people who speak a different language.


But the most intriguing feature of the Pixel Buds is the integrated Google Translate feature. Demoed on stage at Google’s event today, this feature lets two Pixel Bud wearers chat in their native languages by translating conversations in real time. In the demo, a native English speaker and a native Swedish speaker had a conversation with each other, both using their native languages. Google Translate translated the languages for each user. There was barely any lag time in between the speaker saying a phrase and the Buds’ hearing those words and translating them into the appropriate language.

That sounds pretty cool. Actually, that sounds really cool. Then I realize that it’s Google. You know, the company that bends over backwards to cooperate with the Feds. The company that delists viewpoints with which it disagrees. The company that fired an engineer because he dared to question the Orthodoxy.

I’m not sure the benefits of this new tech outweighs the risk of dealing with the “don’t be evil” folks.

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