Published: 01st October 2020
Tired of being put on hold? Google's new feature will notify you when someone picks up
When you call a toll-free number and a business puts you on hold, Google Assistant can wait on the line for you
Next time when someone puts you on hold during a call, relax as Google Assistant will listen closely to hold music and repetitive messages for you. Google has launched a new feature called Hold for Me in its Phone app that will help users get their time back.
Starting with an early preview on newly-launched Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a (5G) smartphones in the US, when you call a toll-free number and a business puts you on hold, Google Assistant can 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,: the company said on Wednesday.
The 'Hold for Me' feature is powered by Google's Duplex technology, which not only recognises hold music but also understands the difference between a recorded message and a representative on the line. Once a representative is identified, Google Assistant will notify you that someone's ready to talk and ask the representative to hold for a moment while you return to the call.
"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," the company said.
While Google Assistant waits on hold for you, Google's natural language understanding also keeps the users informed. "Your call will be muted to let you focus on something else, but at any time, you can check real-time captions on your screen to know what's happening on the call". The 'Hold for Me' tool is an optional feature one can enable in settings and choose to activate during each call to a toll-free number.
To determine when a representative is on the line, audio is processed entirely on the device and does not require a Wi-Fi or data connection. The company said that 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," the company said. Last year, Google introduced an update to Call Screen that helps users avoid interruptions from spam calls once and for all. Last month, the company launched Verified Calls to help people know why a business is calling before they answer.