Is Due Recorder safe
Recorder: A first look at Google's best new app in a long time
With the Pixel 4, Google will add a new entry to its smartphone series in a few days. What this will bring is no longer a big secret, as practically all the details have already leaked. And that does not only apply to the hardware, a lot is already known with regard to the software equipment. Although "known" is formulated too cautiously, even individual apps for the Pixel 4 have been "leaked". And among them there is also a particularly interesting example: a completely new app that will be preinstalled on new Google smartphones.
Under the simple name "Recorder", Google has developed its own app for voice recording. That doesn't sound very exciting at first, after all, there are such apps in the Play Store in abundance. A corresponding program has been preinstalled at Apple for a long time. And yet this is arguably the best new app that Google has developed in a long time, as a quick test shows.
Search for clues
At first glance, what is to be expected becomes apparent here: a simple user interface with a recording button emblazoned in the middle - including the hint that you shouldn't just eavesdrop on people without asking. When you start a recording, the audio track is visualized in wave form - this is also known from other apps in this category. If you look closely, you will notice another button called "Transcription". And this keeps what it promises: If there is a complete transcript of the conversation behind it, if you want, you can even watch live here how the app records the conversation word for word.
Before the expectations get too high, an important piece of information: At the moment, the whole thing only works with English language input. However, Google is already promising in the app that other languages will soon follow. If this requirement is met, this opens up powerful possibilities. In this way, all recordings can also be searched centrally. The app then not only suggests all files that contain the term you are looking for, when you select it, it also switches to the appropriate position. It is also possible to select a word within a file and thus switch to the corresponding position in the sound recording.
In addition to what is spoken, the app also recognizes individual audio events such as "laughter", "music" or "applause", which are specially marked in the transcript. In addition, each of these "events" is assigned its own color, which means that in the waveform display it is immediately visible where speech and where other noises can be heard.
How well is it working?
The quality of the text recognition naturally depends heavily on environmental factors. The clearer the pronunciation, the less background noise, the better it works. And of course there are certain things that such an automatic system will always have problems with, such as names. Otherwise, the detection works really very well in the test, with a few manual interventions a fairly accurate transcription can be created.
The sound recordings are saved in parallel both in audio form and as a text file. If you are looking for inspiration for a title, the app suggests highlight terms from the content. If you want, you can also save the location of the recording so that you can better remember the general conditions later.
Another feature that makes the app particularly interesting is one that is completely untypical for Google: All of this works completely offline. Speech recognition takes place locally on the device, so the resulting data never leaves their own smartphone without the explicit request of the user. If you want, you can of course share the recordings with others or upload them to Google Drive - but as I said, all of this is strictly optional. Hopefully, Google will also focus on this approach for other apps in the future, i.e. offline apps with an optional cloud connection instead of a fixed integration of the same. In any case, from a privacy point of view, that would be a great benefit.
If you want to try out the recorder app yourself, you first have to resort to alternative ways beyond the Play Store. For example, it can be downloaded from APKMirror. Incidentally, it is still guaranteed that it comes from Google, as it is signed with the company's key. It should also be emphasized that offline speech recognition is of course a challenge for the local hardware, so there is no guarantee that it will work reliably on all devices. In any case, the transcription worked smoothly in the test on a Pixel 3. It is currently unclear whether an iOS version is planned. (Andreas Proschofsky, October 13, 2019)
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