Hold for Me on the Pixel 5Source: Google

What you need to know

  • During its Launch Night In hardware event, Google showed off its new Hold for Me feature, which can sit through hold music for you, and alerts you when a person is back on the line.
  • Along with the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G, Hold for Me will be coming to older Pixel devices in a future feature drop.
  • Hold for Me will initially only be available in the U.S.

The Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G are finally official, with virtually zero hardware surprises after months of seemingly endless leaks. One thing we weren't privvy to in advance, however, is the new Hold for Me feature that Google showed off during its September hardware event.

Building upon previous efforts to make phone calls less laborious through Google AI, including Call Screen and Duplex, Hold for Me is a new feature that uses Google Assistant to monitor your phone calls after you've been placed on hold, alerting you once the person on the other end is back on the line with a notification sound and vibration.

This is particularly useful for support calls, where you're likely to be put on hold for extended periods. Starting with the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G, and reaching various Pixel devices in an upcoming feature drop, users will begin to see a prompt on the screen while in a phone call to activate Hold for Me at any time, allowing you to pick back up on other tasks while you wait.

Powered by Duplex technology, Google says that Hold for Me can even distinguish between a real person and the pre-recorded "thank you for holding" messages that play periodically during your wait, preventing those messages from triggering false positives. While you wait, your call is muted, but Google provides real-time transcriptions during the call so you can still keep tabs on what's going on.

Once your phone prompts you that you're no longer on hold, Google Assistant will ask the person on the other end to wait while you return to the call.

At the moment, Google is only offering a preview of Hold for Me for Pixel users in the U.S., but it'll presumably start to roll out gradually in other markets in the coming months.

No more hold music

Google Pixel 5 render

Google Pixel 5

Let Google sit through the hold music so you don't have to

The Pixel 5 doesn't just replace your camera, it replaces the need to ever sit on hold with customer support again. Hold for Me alerts you when another person is back on the line.

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