Pixel 3 Gets Smart ‘Call Screen’ Will Let Users See Who’s Calling and What They Want


Personally, I thought that this year's Pixel launch was one of the most underwhelming of the lot. Not only did we know pretty much everything there was to know about the Pixels, the actual products announced didn't seem to pack a punch, compared to the ones released earlier. However, Google has one surprise up its sleeve that may have just salvaged the morning. The new Call Screen feature lets the Google Assistant answer your incoming calls and politely ask what the caller wants. A real-time transcript will appear on your screen, allowing you to decide whether or not you want to pick up.

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When your Pixel rings, a "Screen call" button shows up alongside the usual controls. Tapping it will prompt the Google Assistant to tell your caller that the call is being screened and ask what it's about. Their explanation is transcribed on your screen, and you have options to mark the call as spam or tell the caller you'll get back to them, among others.

The feature seems well suited for handling calls from numbers you aren't familiar with, but it could also be useful for seeing if a caller you know needs something important when you're in a situation where you can't talk. I'm not entirely sure how excited a person would be to speak to a literal AI, I look forward to seeing some hilarious 'fails' that are bound to pop up after the service goes live.

This feature will initially be available later this year in New York, Atlanta, Phoenix and the San Francisco Bay Area to help people book restaurant reservations and will roll out to other U.S. cities in the future.

Additonally, Google announced that Duplex would be rolled out in select cities gradually. Call Screen will launch with the Pixel 3, and older Pixel phones will start seeing the feature as early as next month. We can expect the features to come to older Pixel phones early next year, as we've seen happen with the Google Assistant and Google Lens.