We know that Google likes to add auxiliary processors to its devices, like an extra image processor called Visual Core starting with the Pixel 2 and 2 XL. It's no different for the Pixel 4 and 4 XL which have received an additional Neural Core. Google says that they're using it to power the phones' face unlock and to speed up on-device processing, always-on listening, and machine learning.

This description makes us think it might be used for the next-gen local Assistant, live transcription, and the new Recorder app. That could mean some of these exclusive Pixel 4 features won't find their way into older devices for the lack of appropriate hardware.

Neural Core also processes the face data it receives through various sensors and sends it to the additional Titan M chip for authentication, so it would make sense that the Core is used for image processing. We talked to the camera team, and it said while it's using the chip for a few small things, it's nothing of note. All of the regular picture processing power still stems from Visual Core and the Snapdragon 855.

With Visual Core in the Pixel 2 and 2 XL in mind, which wasn't even turned on when the company released the phones, Google might plan on developing even more features that utilize Neural Core more heavily or open it up for other developers. We're looking forward to all the new things it'll allow for in the future.