Google Pixel 4's New Recorder App Makes Audio Searchable

Google Pixel 4 Recorder App 1

If you’ve ever wished that you could search through your audio recordings by keyword, you’ll want to scoop up a Pixel 4 because its built-in Recorder app does just that.

Using the magic of onboard AI processing, the new app is able to transcribe audio, identify music and more, all right within the app and right on the device.

This eliminates the need to be connected to the internet when using the app, for starters. More importantly, however, it allows you to search through your recordings with ease. You can search for a speech by some words you recall from it, for example, or find recordings that have a dog barking.


The feature will be available in English at first, with other languages coming in the near future. Since the feature runs onboard rather than in the cloud, it may take Google a while to train separate models for each language it wants to release.

The app does all of this on the fly, with minimal impact on battery life and device speed, thanks to a dedicated AI co-processor built into the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset that powers the device.

This co-processor handles all of the AI and machine learning stuff, leaving the main processor free for whatever else is going on.


The true beauty of this setup is that each user will end up with a slightly different AI, specialized in what goes on around that specific user. Whereas a hivemind, cloud-based AI learns as a gestalt, this one will learn only what Google feeds it through updates and what users feed it through actual use.

Google’s Recorder app has some serious potential

The search and transcription features could have some out-there use cases. Musicians who record on their phone, for example, could find a guitar track for a certain song by searching “electric guitar” and looking at the spectrometer output. A farmer, similarly, may track down a recording of a sick horse without having to listen to each recording under “horse”.

This is a feature that’s been long in the making, and is almost certainly the culmination of multiple AI-centric projects. While Google didn’t say exactly what work went into the new app, it’s not hard to venture a guess that it’s related to YouTube’s auto-transcription chops, Google’s work on musical AI, and other projects.


The new Recorder app is certainly handy, but it would be far less exciting if it debuted on a dud of a device. Luckily, that’s not the case. The Pixel 4 family brings the heat with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and 6GB of RAM. Storage options run up through 128GB, enough to hold plenty of content to display on the high-resolution 90Hz displays.

There are tons of other tricks up the Pixel 4 family’s sleeve, such as Live HDR, a camera with optical zoom, and more. You’ll be able to get your hands on one come October 24th.

This killer feature set comes at a relatively high price that falls just short of mainstream flagships, a wallet-straining $799. That price gets you a base Pixel 4 unit in Clearly White, Just Black, or limited color option Oh So Orange.