(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? A new Android feature, called Hold for Me, might 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 Google's latest feature for the 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?
- Call a toll-free number.
- If you are put on hold, Google Assistant will monitor the call for you.
- You can go back to doing whatever.
- When you're off hold, you’ll be notified with a sound, vibration, or a notification.
- The representative will be asked to hold so you can take the call.
- You can monitor what’s being said or played via real-time caption on your screen.
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. In fact, 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
- Open the Phone app.
- Tap More (three-dot button) and then Settings.
- Tap Hold for Me.
- 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 test Google Hold for Me?
- Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5g users in the US
Hold for Me is currently available as a preview feature in the US - and it's s only for Google’s new Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G phones. Because it's a preview, it may not work completely accurately or as described. Google is testing the feature before presumably launching it for more Android users.
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