Canadians can now use the Pixel 5’s “Hold For Me” feature to stay on the line
Alongside the launch of the Google Pixel 5 and the Google Pixel 4a 5G last year, the company debuted a new Pixel-exclusive feature called “Hold for Me”. It activates once you call a business and get put on hold, and you can either choose to stay on hold, and wait and stay attentive for when you finally connect to a person on the other end, or you can let Google Assistant do the waiting for you. Once a human is back on the line and ready to talk to you, Google Assistant will notify you with a sound, a vibration, and a screen prompt to jump back into the call. While at the time of launch it was a U.S.-exclusive feature, it now appears to be rolling out in Canada.
The feature’s arrival in Canada was spotted by users on /r/GooglePixel. Hold for Me is powered by Google’s Duplex technology. This allows the feature to recognize hold music (which can vary wildly across businesses) and also understand the difference between a recorded message and an actual human representative on the line. When the call is being held by Google Assistant, it is muted on the user’s end and, instead, real-time captions are displayed on the screen to let the user know what is happening on the call. Once a representative comes on the line, Google Assistant sends a notification to the user, and even goes ahead and asks the representative to hold for a moment to let the user return back to the call.
It seems that this feature is beginning to roll out in Canada, and you may not get it immediately. You can navigate to your Google app’s settings to see if you have Hold for Me, though it will only be available in the U.S. and Canada on a Google Pixel 3 or later. This feature is very similar to Google’s Call Screen, which is also only available in the U.S and can help users to avoid spam calls.