File picture: Pexels
File picture: Pexels

Say goodbye to annoying ’please hold’ music with Google’s new feature ‘Hold for Me’

By Masabata Mkwananzi Time of article published Oct 21, 2020

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Johannesburg - When it comes to smartphones, Google has been redefining what a smartphone should look like and how it should operate. The company has introduced the latest feature in the US for Google’s new Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A (5G) phones called ‘Hold for Me’.

Hold for Me is a feature that will help many users in saving time and avoiding those long annoying repetitive messages and those awful hold music. Many of us find it frustrating to call retailers to locate missing packages, internet companies to adjust our internet speeds or customer support to lodge in a complaint only to be ‘put on hold.’ Well, that is coming to an end thanks to Google.

Google said if a user calls a toll-free number or any other business place and you are being placed on hold, Google Assistant can wait on the line for you while you focus on other things. When a human being gets on the line, you will be notified with a sound, vibration and a prompt on your screen once someone is on the line and ready to talk. That means you will spend more time doing what is important to you, and less time listening to hold music.

According to Google ‘Hold for Me’ is powered by Google’s Duplex technology, which not only recognizes hold music but also understands the difference between a recorded message (like “Hello, thank you for waiting”) and a representative on the line. Once a representative is identified, Google Assistant will notify you that someone’s ready to talk and ask the representative to hold for a moment while you return to the call.

“We gathered feedback from a number of companies, including Dell and United, as well as from studies with customer support representatives, to help us design these interactions and make the feature as helpful as possible to the people on both sides of the call.” Said Google in a blog post.

Currently, Hold for Me is an optional feature that can be enabled in Google settings and you can choose to activate it during each call to a toll-free number. It is similar to other features Google has introduced to enhance the smartphone experience, such as call screening, which uses voice transcription to allow you to ask an unknown caller for information before you actually take the call.

According to Google Hold for Me does not require WI-FI or data connection to operate and no audio from your calls will be shared or saved on to your Google account unless you explicitly decide to share it.

Hold for Me is currently available only in the US for Google’s new Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A (5G) phones, the company did not specify when it will be available to other countries.

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