The Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones with Google Assistant built-in have just launched for $350 and people are asking what the point is. You can trigger Google Assistant using a button on many Bluetooth headphones. How does having it built in help?
Ian Lake, an employee at Google, decided to chime in about the usefulness of this feature.
So if you’ve used any Bluetooth headphones before, you probably have a ‘call’ button. Long pressing on that button on recent versions of Android would trigger Google Assistant. So that’s not anything particular exciting. These headphones do a lot more than that though.
My personal favorite feature and why I prefer these headphones over all my others is the VUI (Voice UI) around reading and responding to notifications. While regular notifications will play their chime just like on normal headphones, these headphones can detect messaging notifications and will instead read the name of the person (super important context usually missing). From there, a simple tap of the button will read the notification out loud (this works with any notification!). For messaging notifications, you also get the chance to reply, directly from the headphones by holding down the button. No having to say ‘ok google’ or have it transcribe a few extra second at the end. The ‘push to talk’ model is surprisingly nice on headphones.
Even when there isn’t a notification just coming in, tapping the Google Assistant button is so much more useful. Besides bringing up any notifications you may have long since missed, I’ve also gotten Google Assistant driven suggestions like the time to leave for my next calendar appointment.
And I think something that is underrated by people who have Android devices, but these features also work when connected to iOS devices through the Google Assistant app on iOS. I wouldn’t underestimate how impactful that is for iOS users who previously haven’t had the ability to use anything but Siri on headphones.
He makes some great points. Having your notifications read to you in the private of your own headphones and even replying to them means you’ll have to take your phone out of your pocket less. It’s also a huge deal for iOS users that can’t access Google Assistant natively.
Suddenly, headphones with built in Google Assistant don’t seem so useless. We wish that Google marketed this feature better as a majority of people will never read Lake’s explanation, but it definitely clears up why Google is pushing this feature out. Will this push you to buy a set of QC 35 IIs or a future set of Assistant-equipped headphones? Let us know in the comments!