Watch out AirPods — Google could be developing its own smart headphones

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Look out, Apple. Google is here to steal your thunder once again. And this time, it’s in the audio game. According to a recent teardown from 9to5Google, it would appear that the tech giant is planning on unveiling a pair of headphones with smart capabilities, and of course, compatibility with Google Assistant. According to 9to5Google, it would appear that a string of mystery code known as “Bisto” refers to a set of headphones that run Google’s artificially intelligent helper, which could spell trouble for Apple’s AirPods.

As IBTimes points out, Google has long alluded to the existence of an “audio wearable” project, but now, it seems that these previously secretive plans are becoming a bit more complete. In the recent teardown, a string refers directly to Google Assistant, stating, “Your headphones have the Google Assistant. Ask it questions. Tell it to do things. It’s your own personal Google, always ready to help.”

This line is found next to the “bistro_magic_pairing” phrase, which makes it seem as though the wearer of these headphones could control volume, skip tracks, and more, all using naught but his or her voice. Much in the same way that Google customers can talk to Google Assistant to speak with the Google Home speaker, this functionality could soon be applied to a headset.

However, unlike the Apple AirPods, which are activated by way of a double tap, it would appear that Google’s headphones will feature physical buttons. This could echo Samsung’s Bixby button, which you can find on the Samsung Galaxy S8 — when pushed, this button calls forth the AI helper. Another reference to buttons comes in conjunction with “the left earcup,” which leads us to believe that these headphones will probably be of the over the ear variety (not earbuds).

Of course, we still don’t know very much about the rumored headphones. However, with the new Pixel smartphones slated to make their debut in the next few months, it could be the right time for Google to unveil a few other pieces of hardware. So look out, audiophiles. You could very soon have a new pair of headphones to try out.