One of the most convenient features Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 owners enjoy, call screening, is getting an important upgrade. By the end of the year, your device will be able to save the call transcriptions it creates when dealing with suspected spam calls (or calls you choose to screen manually). And if you don’t want to wait, you can beta test the feature right now.
In automatic call screening’s current incarnation, Google Assistant can recognise when a call may be a robocall, or from a potentially fishy phone number, and intercept it on your behalf.
When answering the call, Google Assistant gives the other party a standard greeting: “Hi, the person you’re calling is using a screening service from Google, and will get a copy of this conversation. Go ahead and say your name, and why you’re calling.”
You can then watch your device transcribe the entire conversation in real time on your phone. At any time during the call, you can choose to answer it, have Google Assistant respond for you with automated phrases like “call back later” or “tell me more,” or even block the number and report it as spam.
When Google’s new update drops, your device will save these transcriptions for you to dig up later. (For those curious, all transcriptions happen locally on the phone and not on Google’s servers, so the company doesn’t collect data from these calls or writeups.)
Google says saved transcription logs will be available for all Pixel phones between now and early 2019, but you can get the feature early by opting-in to Google’s beta testing program for the Phone app. All it takes is a single button press, and you’re in. Your Phone app will update with new beta versions when available and may include new features or performance changes before the public gets them. (Google notes that receiving the update may take a while and isn’t necessarily automatic)
For now, call screening comes with all Pixel 3 phones, and it began rolling out to some Pixel 2 users this week. Owners of the original Pixel and Pixel XL can expect an update with call screening to reach them within the coming weeks—though, again, they can potentially see it earlier by becoming a beta tester for the Phone app.
If you’re experiencing bugs, crashes, or other issues and don’t want to participate in the beta test anymore, you can opt-out of the beta program by uninstalling the Phone app:
Tap and hold on the Phone app icon to open the app’s quick options, then tap the “i” icon in the upper left of the tiny menu to open its settings.
At the upper-left of the setting menu, tap the stacked three dots, then tap “Uninstall updates.” Tap “yes” when asked if you wish to restore the App to its factory settings.