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Pixel phones just got next-gen call screening

Google Assistant will speak on your behalf to find out why someone is blowing up your spot.

Google

Google just announced that some Pixel phones are getting next-gen call screening. This improves on the pre-existing Call Screen feature by implementing a new Hello button. Once tapped, the system will deploy Google Assistant to speak on your behalf.

The digital assistant will ask the caller why they’re trying to reach you, and you’ll be able to hear the response in real-time. If it sounds important, you can interrupt and begin the call. If not, you can kick them to the curb and go back to watching TV.

Google Assistant already worked to screen calls in a similar way, but the Hello button gives the user ultimate control as to when to begin the screening process. There’s even an option to tell the caller to wait a little bit, if you can't get to the phone quite yet. In addition to the real-time element, the tool still captures transcripts of these screenings to peruse at your leisure. The new Call Screen update is only available for the Pixel Fold and Pixel 6 phones and newer.

This is part of a larger March features drop for Pixel phones. Google’s smartphones will now be able to share 10-bit HDR videos directly to Instagram, with no processing required. This is similar to the approach Samsung recently took with its Galaxy S24 native camera update.

The features drop also expands the company’s recently-launched Circle to Search tool to Pixel 7 smartphones. As the name suggests, this lets people search for stuff by simply drawing a circle around the object. The tool was previously only available for Pixel 8 and Galaxy S24 users.