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Google Pixel 4 Recorder App Offers Real-Time Transcription Without Requiring Internet Access

The new Recorder app on Google Pixel 4 provides transcription only for the speeches in English.

Google Pixel 4 Recorder App Offers Real-Time Transcription Without Requiring Internet Access

Photo Credit: YouTube/ Made by Google

New Recorder app offers real-time transcription support on Google Pixel 4

  • New Recorder app is limited to Google Pixel 4 phones
  • Users just need to tap the Transcript button to view transcription
  • The app also lets users search for previous transcriptions

Google is offering its new Recorder app on the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL that can transcribe recordings using speech recognition and artificial intelligence (AI). The company claims that the Recorder app can transcribe speeches such as lectures, meetings, and interviews in a real time, without requiring an active Internet connection. This makes the app a step ahead against the Voice Memo app offered by Apple that simply records audio notes and provides playback and sharing support. Notably, the new Recorder app is limited to the Pixel 4 phones. It is also likely to remain restricted to the latest hardware since Google may be utilising the built-in Neural Core on the Pixel 4 series to offer on-device transcription support.

"Pixel 4's new Recorder app records meetings, lectures, jam sessions—anything you want to save and listen to later—and simultaneously transcribes speech and identifies sounds like music and applause," writes Brian Rakowski, VP, Product Management at Google, in a blog post.

Google at its hardware event demonstrated the Recorder app by showcasing its real-time transcription functionality. The onstage demo was indeed quite promising as the app transcribed the audio recording live quite accurately and almost with no delay. However, we're yet to see its actual results.

Users on the new Recorder app just need to tap the Transcript button to view the transcription text simultaneously while recording the audio. Although the app provides real-time transcription, users can also view their previous transcripts or search for any particular sound, words, or phrases from their existing recordings.

There are some third-party apps, such as the highly popular Otter, that process audio transcriptions using a server. Samsung also comes as a leading smartphone maker to offer real-time transcription support on its native Voice Recorder app. However, just like third-party apps, the South Korean company also asks for an active Internet connection to transcribe speech using its software algorithms.

Google's new Recorder app on that front is a bit different as it works even when you place your Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL on the airplane mode. The search giant claims that the app processes the transcription on-device, instead of relying on a Web server.

If we look at the information available to the public, Google may be using the Neural Core that is inbuilt in the new Pixel phones -- just like the Pixel 2 family debuted with the Visual Core for image processing.

"Pixel Neural Core is the engine for on-device processing, always-on computing, and machine learning, meaning more tasks are done on the device for performance and privacy," notes Rakowski in his post.

All this means that the new Recorder app may not arrive formally on existing Pixel phones. Mishaal Rahman of XDA Developers did try a leaked version of the app earlier this month and note that the audio transcriptions weren't 100 percent accurate.

Apart from its limited availability to the Pixel 4 models, the new Recorder app currently transcribes only in English. Google, nevertheless, promised to bring other languages soon


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Jagmeet Singh writes about consumer technology for Gadgets 360, out of New Delhi. Jagmeet is a senior reporter for Gadgets 360, and has frequently written about apps, computer security, Internet services, and telecom developments. Jagmeet is available on Twitter at @JagmeetS13 or Email at jagmeets@ndtv.com. Please send in your leads and tips. More
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