Pixel Buds get 'Hey Google' hotword detection, but it's not working

What you need to know

  • 'Hey Google' hotword detection is showing up in the Pixel Buds' settings.
  • Unfortunately, the setting doesn't appear to be active yet.
  • Google is rumored to have a pair of Pixel Buds 2 in the works that might show up at the October 15 Made by Google event.

The Pixel Buds launched nearly two years ago with fairly mixed reviews. Since the launch, Google's Bluetooth headphones haven't made many headlines.

That was until recently when Google started giving us something to talk about. First, we learned from a source close to the matter that the Pixel Buds 2 are on the way. Now, we're seeing a new option for "Hey Google" detection pop up in the settings after a recent update.

If you wanted to activate Assistant in the past, you'd have to long-press on the touch-sensitive button. With this new setting, it would allow you to invoke Assistant with the voice commands similar to Google Assistant smart speakers, your phone, or smartwatch. Thankfully, the setting also mentions that it uses voice match so you won't have random strangers setting off your headphones as you walk by.

Unfortunately, once it is toggled on, the new setting appears to do nothing. Users have also reported that once you leave the settings menu it reverts back to being disabled as well.

It's possible someone flipped the switch early over there at Google before the feature was ready for use. Another possibility is this is being worked on for the upcoming Pixel Buds 2 we've been hearing about. Considering the touch-sensitive buttons didn't get much love on the first Pixel Buds, it's entirely likely that Google could make the Pixel Buds 2 button-free.

Either way, we may be finding out more about this soon at the Made By Google event happening on October 15. Google is expected to launch the new Pixel 4 smartphones there along with other hardware which may or may not include the refreshed Pixel Buds. 

Jason England