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One of the Pixel 4’s most impressive features is coming soon to older models

Published Nov 1st, 2019 7:06PM EDT
Pixel 4 features
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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In a roundabout way, Google has confirmed that one of the features which immediately stood out when the Pixel 4 was first unveiled about a month ago — the super fast and useful Recorder app that transcribes audio — is coming soon to older Pixel models via a software update.

This free app is, as we said, fast and mostly accurate. And reporters, in particular, soon started raving about it on Twitter, given that transcribing interview recordings is one of the more thankless and time-consuming aspects of the job. A Google Pixel Community account confirmed the news that the app is coming to earlier Pixels via a Reddit comment, though it wasn’t immediately clear what kind of timetable this is on nor which specific older Pixel models the feature is coming to.

Notwithstanding the fact that this one more in a long line of examples of Google taking cues from the iPhone since the earliest days of the Pixel series, we’re already on record as saying the app is a solid improvement over the equivalent Voice Memos app on the iPhone.

Google’s voice recording app comes with automatic transcription and audio search features, which — not to seem like all I’m doing is banging the drum for my fellow journalists — but when you’ve got like 100+ old voice memo files sitting around, a search feature that will take you right to the spot within one of those files can be monumentally useful.

One commenter on that Reddit thread above praised Google’s move to bring features like this one to older Pixel models, arguing that “A 2-yr old phone from any other company doesn’t get this treatment.” Google’s official description of the recorder app is as follows:

“The new Recorder app on Pixel 4 brings the power of search and AI to audio recording. You can record meetings, lectures, jam sessions — anything you want to save and listen to later. Recorder automatically transcribes speech and tags sounds like music, applause, and more, so you can search your recordings to quickly find the part you’re looking for. All Recorder functionality happens on-device, so your audio never leaves your phone. We’re starting with English for transcription and search, with more languages coming soon.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.