Google has introduced a new feature called Hold for Me. The feature is currently available as a preview feature in the U.S. for the search giant’s newly unveiled Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a (5G) smartphones.
So, how does the feature work? According to Google, whenever a user is placed on hold after calling a toll-free number, Google Assistant will take over and wait on your behalf.
You will see a big “Don’t hang up” prompt will come up when the feature is turned on and “Return to call” option is available at any time. As the Assistant is holding for you, a text transcript appears at the bottom of the screen letting you what’s happening on the call.
Once an actual person responds to you on the other line, your phone will notify, by ringing or vibrating, you to return to the call. To make sure the other person doesn’t hang up on you, the Assistant will ask them to hold for a moment to give you time to return to the call.
The company explained that Hold for Me is powered by Google Duplex, its AI system for accomplishing real-world tasks over the phone. It is already being used to make appointments, and check store hours.
The feature is said to not only recognises hold music but can also differentiate between a recorded message and a real person actually speaking on the line. Most of the time at least. Google admits though that each business’ hold loop is different, so results may vary.
If you are worried about privacy, Google assures that all processing is done privately on-device and it does not require any WiFi or data connection to use.
“No audio from the call will be shared with Google or saved to your Google account unless you explicitly decide to share it and help improve the feature. When you return to the call after Google Assistant was on hold for you, audio stops being processed altogether.”
Currently, Hold for Me is an optional feature that can be enabled in settings and chosen to activate during each call to a toll-free number.
Last year, Google introduced an update to Call Screen that helps users avoid interruptions from spam calls once. More recently, it launched Verified Calls to help users know why a business is calling before you answer.
As we mentioned earlier, the feature will be rolled on its latest Pixel devices but this will soon be followed by its older-generation Pixel phones in its next “feature drop” roll out, though it didn’t specify when exactly.
If you want to catch the rest of the cool new stuff Google unveiled, check out the video below.