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Google's Pixel Buds' most impressive trick is real-time language translation. Photo: Google

At the surface level, Pixel Buds are Google's answer to Apple's AirPods. Both are wireless headphones designed to easily connect to each company's latest smartphones.

Despite those similarities, they are different products, pointing to each company's strengths.

Our take: Apple's AirPods are more elegant as well as smaller and more comfortable. However, Pixel Buds have some other appeals, most notably the ability to aid in real-time language translation.

The comparison: Apple's AirPods are decidedly more elegant, effortlessly connecting to the iPhone and so light and comfortable you barely notice they are there.

Pixel Buds, by contrast, are a less radical design, with the two buds connected via a long cord. Where they shine is in added features, in particular one that lets the headset handle real-time translation via Google Translate. In my limited testing, it wasn't that different than just using the Google Translate app, though it is a bit more discrete.

Who it's good for: People who have a Pixel or Pixel 2 (regular or XL models) and are already in the market for wireless headphones; those who travel a lot internationally.

Who it's not: People that already have wireless headphones they like or who want the smallest and most comfortable headphones.

The practicalities: Pixel Buds sell for $159 and are available to order from Google's Web site. While early orders are shipping this week, those ordered now could take until December to arrive.

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Axios Re:Cap digs into why net neutrality matters and what comes next with Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge and host of the Decoder podcast.

House grants waiver for retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to lead Pentagon

Defense Secretary nominee Lloyd Austin Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted 326-78 on Thursday to grant retired Gen. Lloyd Austin a waiver to lead the Pentagon, clearing the way for the Senate to confirm President Biden's nominee for defense secretary as early as this week.

Why it matters: Austin's nomination received pushback from some lawmakers, including Democrats, who cited a law that requires officers be out of the military for at least seven years before taking the job — a statute intended to reinforce the tradition of civilian control of the Pentagon.

Amanda Gorman steals the show on Inauguration Day

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Axios Visuals

Poet Amanda Gorman by far generated the most average interactions on social media on Inauguration Day, according to exclusive data from NewsWhip.