Pixel 4's Google Assistant could free you up while your call is on hold

(Image credit: Google)

We all hate being placed on hold when calling a business – especially the part where you're forced to listen to excruciating hold music that seems to drone on endlessly. 

But what if your phone's virtual assistant could go on hold for you, freeing you up to do other things? According to a new report from 9to5Google, the upcoming Pixel 4 could be getting that very feature.

Citing a "reliable source familiar with the company’s plans", the report states that the Pixel 4's Google Assistant will be able to take over for you when you've been placed on hold during a call.

According to the source, a user will be able to tap a button on the Pixel 4's display, letting Google Assistant know the call has been placed on hold, thus allowing the user to turn their attention to other business. 

The phone will reportedly notify its owner when a human has returned at the other end of the call. 

According to a tweet from 9to5Google's Stephen Hall (who also wrote the report this story is based on), the feature might be called 'Hold My Phone'.

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The ability for Google Assistant to distinguish being hold music and a human seems fairly reasonable to us, although we have to wonder whether it will be able to tell the difference between a real person and the usual "your call is very important to us" type of recording.

Of course, we'll have to wait and see if the feature is in fact real in order to find out how it works. However, as 9to5Google points out, current Pixel handsets do have the ability to screen calls before you've answered using Google Assistant's AI, so maybe the technology will be an extension of that.

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 

He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.