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(Pocket-lint) - Have you ever been on hold? Like, have you called a customer support line or your bank and been subjected to, well, elevator music?

An Android feature called Hold for Me, is designed to make those situations a little less insufferable. Here is everything you need to know.

What is Google Hold for Me?

  • Feature in the phone app

Hold for Me is a feature for the Google Phone app on Android devices. It uses Google's AI technology, Duplex, to wait on hold for you. It will also serve up real-time captions for you, so you can easily see what's happening, and it'll tell any representatives on the line to wait for you if needed.

"We gathered feedback from a number of companies, including Dell and United, as well as from studies with customer support representatives, to help us design these interactions and make the feature as helpful as possible to the people on both sides of the call," Google explained in a blog post.


How does Google Hold for Me work?

  1. Take your phone off silent or vibrate only
  2. Open the Phone app
  3. Place a call to a business
  4. When you're placed on hold, tap Hold for Me and then Start
  5. While you're on hold, you'll find a card on the screen that says 'Don’t hang up'
  6. When the support representative is ready to speak with you, a prompt will display 'Someone's waiting to talk to you'
  7. Tap Return to call

Google said Hold for Me is designed to help you "get that time back". Basically, when you call a toll-free number or business, and it puts you on hold, Google Assistant can then wait on the line for you. "You can go back to your day, and Google Assistant will notify you with sound, vibration and a prompt on your screen once someone is on the line and ready to talk," Google explained. "That means you'll spend more time doing what's important to you, and less time listening to hold music."

Hold for Me follows another artificial intelligence phone feature from Google, Call Screen, which helps you avoid interruptions from spam calls. In fact, Hold for Me is powered by Google Duplex, an AI which can detect hold music, recorded messages, and representatives. If it notices a representative on the line, Google Assistant will kick in to notify you that someone is ready to talk and will ask the representative to hold for a moment while you return to the call.

While Hold for Me waits on hold for you, Google's AI will mute the call, but you can check real-time captions on your screen to know for sure what's happening. The Phone app essentially records the audio from the business or whatever has put you on hold, and then it shows you a transcript of what's said. Audio processing is done on your device, with nothing sent to Google. The audio recording and transcript will be deleted from your device 48 hours after the call.

How to turn on Google Hold for Me

  1. Open the Phone app.
  2. Tap More (three-dot button) and then Settings.
  3. Tap Hold for Me.
  4. Turn Hold for Me on or off.

Hold for Me is an optional feature that must be enabled in Google settings. Once enabled, tap "Hold for me" in Google's Phone app after you're placed on hold.

Who can use Google Hold for Me?

  • Pixel 3 and newer Pixel devices
  • US users only for now

Hold for Me works on Pixel 3 and later devices in the US only. You will need the latest version of the Phone app to use Hold for Me, and it is currently only available in English.

Want to know more?

Check out Google's blog post and support hub.

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Writing by Maggie Tillman. Editing by Britta O'Boyle.