Why Google Recorder is a best-in-class app. Too bad it only works on Pixel phones
Here's what you need to know about Google's game-changing recording and transcription app. We hope it'll come to more phones one day.
Jason CiprianiContributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
After using Google's new Recorder app, you'll never want to use another voice memo app again. It's true. Instead of simply recording the audio of a lecture or interview like all the other apps do, Recorder transcribes whatever it hears in real-time -- on the device -- without sending any information to Google. In fact, it doesn't require a data connection at all.
You can view your transcription as it's being created, or go back and search or share the file with a classmate or colleague. Or if you don't have a Pixel phone, but know someone who does, let them know about the app. Not only will it help them, but it could help you as well if they share the transcription with you to collaborate on work.
It's a shame that Google is limiting the Recorder app to its Pixel
for now, but hopefully, that changes in the near future. But the good news is that Google has made Recorder available to other Pixel phones beyond the
. That gives me hope that the Recorder app could come to other phones in the future.
Watch this: Pixel 4 and 4 XL have awesome cameras but high prices
After Recorder is installed on your Pixel phone, you use it just like any other voice notes or memo app: Open the app, tap the record button, and let it record.
As it's recording, you'll see sound waves scroll across the screen. On the bottom you'll see the pause button, along with an Audio option (already selected) and a Transcript option. If you tap Transcript, you can watch the recording populate in real-time, complete with punctuation.
Watching the app transcribe whatever it's hearing can come in handy if you're listening to someone speak with an accent, or if you just want to check the spelling of a word as you jot down notes. It's mesmerizing to watch.
Once you're done recording, tap on the pause button. You can then give the recording a title and location, and either resume or save it. There's also the option to delete it.
Reviewing and sharing your recordings
The best tip I can give you for reviewing your recordings is to use the search tool. Located at the top of the main screen is a search box that, when used, will search all of the recordings stored on your device and then highlight each recording and the specific section where that word or phrase is used.
It's extremely convenient when you're trying to find a specific topic of a lecture or a quote from an interview. It's also helpful if (like me) you don't get into the habit of naming your recordings. Don't be like me, though. Get in the habit of naming your recordings before you save them. It's a simple task that will save you time and headaches down the road.
When you share a recording, you're given the option to pass along just the audio, just the text file or both. Once you share the recording, the recipient won't be able to use the search features, of course, or access any files on your computer, but it's a handy way to share content.