The Pixel 6 is Google’s first phone with a custom-designed SoC, and the appeal of the Tensor chip isn’t in raw power, it’s what the combination of hardware and software can do. Speech and image processing that happens on device are great for Google Assistant or improving photographs, but a feature many owners will appreciate at launch is an improved Phone app that’s built to manage annoying calls to customer service lines.
According to Google, the app can tell you the current hold time for a business’s 1-800 number before you even dial, as well as the projected wait times for later in the day or week. These projections are “inferred from call length data that is not linked to user identifier.” Google didn’t get more specific, but it sounds similar to Google Maps monitoring traffic flow.
Direct My Call is a feature built for anyone who has ever forgotten the list of choices by the time an automated message is reading off the third one. It presents the options and their associated numbers right on the screen, so that you don’t have to listen to the entire spiel again just because you were distracted for a moment.
Meanwhile, the Google Duplex-powered Hold for Me feature is expanding to Pixel owners in Australia, Canada, and Japan soon. Google will also prompt users to share information about businesses that call using numbers not already in its directory, with the intent to eventually share that information to other people who receive calls from those businesses. That could add some information to businesses that simply use multiple numbers… or give you a heads-up that a bill collector is on the line.
It’s not clear whether these features will always be Pixel-exclusive, or if they’ll be available on older Pixel models.