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Google's 'Hold for Me' Assistant feature appears first on new Pixel phones

Richard Lawler
·Senior News Editor
·1-min read

When the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G arrive, they’ll include an early preview of Google’s new feature for the Phone app, the Duplex-powered “Hold for Me.” Mentioned during the Launch Night presentation and explained in a blog post, it lets Google Assistant wait around and wait for someone to pick up when a business is keeping you on hold.

It follows Call Screen and Verified Calls as new features that use Assistant to make phone calls less annoying, and repurposes the Duplex developments to let AI detect hold music and produce a notification once someone actually picks up. According to Google, you’ll see captions produced in real-time on your phone’s screen to let you know what’s happening, as Duplex can tell when it’s picking up a recorded message vs. a live representative.

Also worth noting, it doesn’t share the audio with Google or save it to your account unless you choose to have it shared for quality control. The audio processing is actually done on-device and not in the cloud, with recorded audio and transcripts deleted within 48 hours.