Google Assistant’s New ‘Hold for Me’ Feature Debuts on Pixel 5, Pixel 4a 5G

This feature is only available for users in the US for now.

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Google Assistant’s New ‘Hold for Me’ Feature Debuts on Pixel 5, Pixel 4a 5G

Google Assistant will listen to your calls while waiting for the other side to respond

Highlights
  • Pixel 5, Pixel 4a 5G users can enable or disable this feature
  • Google says all audio processing is done on the device itself
  • ‘Hold for Me’ will wait on call for you, while you do other work

Google Pixel 5 and Google Pixel 4a 5G are official and the phones include a few software tweaks to enhance the user experience. One such feature introduced on the two phones enables users to use their time more productively while waiting on call for a customer support representative. Called ‘Hold for Me', this feature does the waiting for the user and notifies them when a representative finally comes on the call.

The ‘Hold for Me' feature has been introduced as an early preview on Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a (5G) phones. Additionally, this feature is only available in the US for now, Google says in a blog post. Typically, when you call a business' customer support number, you usually have to wait a certain amount of time before a representative is assigned to you. For some businesses, this wait time is pleasingly short; however, for others, it is excruciatingly long. With the help on ‘Hold for Me' feature, users can use this wait time more efficiently.

When you call a customer support number and a business puts you on hold, Google Assistant can wait on the line for you. A dialog box will show up on your call screen, asking you if you want Google Assistant to take over. The voice assistant will then listen in for you, and will alert you once a representative is on call. Google Assistant will notify you with sound, vibration and a prompt on your screen. While waiting for a representative, the call will be muted for allowing the user to focus better.

Google says that it has used a new Duplex technology to enable this ‘Hold for Me' feature. This system not only recognises hold music but also understands the difference between a recorded message and an actual representative on the line. The tech giant partnered with companies like Dell and United to design this feature and make it helpful on both sides of the call. When a representative comes on call, the person is notified by Google Assistant to hold for a moment while the user returns back to the call.

The ‘Hold for Me' is an optional feature and can be enabled/ disabled in Settings. Google notes that the entire audio listened by Google Assistant is processed on the phone without the need for Wi-Fi or data. This ensures privacy and Google says that no audio will be saved or shared in any manner. The feature will be rolled out to more people in the coming months.


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Tasneem Akolawala Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com. More
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