We don’t know how many hours of our lives we’ve lost being on hold while getting customer service from various companies. It’s one of the most tedious time-wasters out there but we’ve gotten so used to it that we think there isn’t a solution out there anymore (well, apart from trying out online customer service). Google is now offering a solution for all those on hold woes with a new Hold For Me phone feature which lets Google Assistant do all the waiting for you.
Basically, what this feature does is when a number you’re calling puts you on hold, instead of suffering through the hold music (which is pretty unbearable more often than not), it will be Google Assistant that will wait it out for you. This way, you can go do whatever important thing you need to do, and then you’ll get an alert once a human voice comes on so you can talk to them about tracking a package, reconnecting a phone line, or troubleshooting your new device.
Hold For Me is powered by Google’s Duplex technology since “simple algorithms” are not enough to detect when a human voice finally gets on the line. The AI will be able to detect when it’s still hold music playing and can differentiate between a recorded message and a human representative. Once it detects a human is already speaking, it will ask the representative to hold on while it gets you. It will notify you with a sound, vibration, and a prompt on your screen.
This is actually an optional feature that you can enable in your phone’s settings. You can choose to activate it with each call you make. Oh, and it won’t work on just any calls. You will need to call a toll-free number for it to work. All the processing goes on in your device so you don’t need to be connected to the internet. This also means no audio of the call will be shared or saved to your Google account.
Hold For Me is now on preview mode on Google’s latest Pixel devices, Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G, in the U.S. No news if it will eventually roll out to non-Pixel devices but they did say they’ll bring the feature to “more people” in the next few months so make of that what you will.