(Image via Waverly Labs)
Google debuted a new pair of headphones Wednesday that can translate more or less in real time what someone is saying in a different language. They’re called Pixel Buds and they’re equipped with voice recognition and connected to Google Translate. Pretty neat.
Well, not so much for one Brooklyn startup, which has been working on a very similar product for years, and, in fact, just sold $5 million this spring in pre-sales. The company is New Lab–based Waverly Labs, its product is the Pilot and its founder is Andrew Ochoa, whom we just named earlier this week as one of Brooklyn’s top scientists.
“When other companies begin launching products similar to yours, then you know you’re doing something right,” Ochoa said by email yesterday.
It’s a problem that founders everywhere worry about. Even if your engineering is just as good, how can your Kickstarter-backed product compete with a multinational corporation with the best marketing and distribution channels money can buy? Ochoa said he’s just going to keep working on the Pilot and highlighted the ways it is different from Google’s Pixel Buds.
“For us, that means continuous conversational translation without having to tap a button to speak, the ability to share our system easily with another person, and creating a product which works across platforms and operating systems,” he said. “To that extent, no one else is doing what we’re doing.”