Google tests saving Call Screen audio on the Pixel, but it might be Googler-only

Google tests saving Call Screen audio on the Pixel, but it might be Googler-only

Call Screen is one of the coolest features that Google has added in the dialer app for Pixel phones. It’s a convenient way to figure out who is calling you and why, and it’s also fun to just annoy your friends and family with. It uses Google’s WaveNet text-to-speech engine to talk to the caller on the other end and depending on the response from the caller, you can then choose to hang up or connect the call. Since its release, Google has added a few features that we’ve all wanted. These features include audio passthrough so you can hear the caller yourself and saving the transcription after the call. Now, we’ve found evidence that Google is working on adding the ability to let you save the audio from a Call Screen session—but it might be limited to Google employees.

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by Google in a future build.

The new option is shown on a Google Pixel 2 XL above. We were able to force it to show up in the dialer settings. Although, we haven’t managed to figure out where it’s saving the call audio so we don’t know if it actually works. One of the reasons we think it won’t work anyway is that it may be Googler-only. There are a few new strings in the app that hint at that. Here are the strings in question:

<string name="call_screen_postcall_fourth_question_title">(Googlers Only) Let Google review the audio for only the Call Screen portion of the call? It will be stored anonymously and retained for a limited period, to help improve the feature and transcription accuracy.</string>
<string name="call_screen_postcall_notification_primary_text"> How was your experience with Call Screen? (Dogfood only)</string>

The strings suggest that this feature is intended to help Google improve the transcription quality in Call Screen. Google employees can opt to send the audio from the Call Screen part of the call. Given the different state laws on call recording, I wouldn’t be surprised if this feature doesn’t make its way to the public.

Another feature we were able to enable is a new preview of Call Screen transcripts in the call log. In the screenshot above, you can see the Google Assistant icon and a snippet of what was said during the call. This is good if you want a quick preview of the transcription in case you can’t remember what the call was about.

As with other features we’ve enabled before, we don’t know when these two changes will roll out. We’ll keep you updated if we spot these changes go live in a future release.

Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.

About author

Max Weinbach
Max Weinbach

Former Contributor to the XDA-Developers Portal.