Google’s a little surprised at how we’ve all been using Recorder

The user experience design is versatile nonetheless


Although Google’s Pixel phones ship with stock Android, they include several exclusive apps unavailable to other devices, like Google Camera and Google Recorder. The latter has a rich feature set, making it adept at recording everything from long arguments to ideas that strike you in the shower. However, Google recently revealed most people prefer using the app only for shorter recordings.


Since the Recorder app debuted with the Pixel 4, it has gained a ton of useful features like real-time voice transcription and speaker labels, making it perfect for long-form recordings with multiple speakers, like interviews, meetings, or lectures. In an interesting discussion on the Made by Google Podcast about the Pixel Essential Apps team’s work on the Recorder app, Google product manager Kristi Bradford revealed most Recorder sessions are just three minutes long — or less (via 9to5Google).

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The staffer also shared that people use the Recorder app as a part of their brainstorming process, or for rap lyrics, and some actors even use it for production-ready samples. This dichotomy between Google’s intended use case for Recorder, and the way people actually use it in the real world could come as a surprise, especially considering how recently added features also reiterate the focus on longer recordings.

However, Google seems intent on maintaining Recorder as a versatile tool that can suffice for shorter recordings and longer sessions alike. Bradford reveals the process of user experience research (UXR) at Google is constant, and the team revisits detailed feedback from users once a month, especially when planning Recorder’s roadmap or cooking up new capabilities enabled by Google Research. She says the Pixel Essential Apps team focuses on reliability in function, ease of use,

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