For many of us, calling a doctor’s office, an insurance carrier, customer support, or indeed any kind of administrative office has become an exercise in frustration — especially these days, when increased demand and cuts in staffing have made phone waits interminable. Yes, you can simply use speakerphone to monitor the line, but do you really want to listen to that awful music for over an hour?
A new Android feature called Hold for Me, which Google just announced, may just be able to make those phone waits a bit more tolerable. Hold for Me is currently available as a preview feature in the US for Google’s new Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A (5G) phones.
Here’s how it works, according to Google: if you call a toll-free number and are put on hold, Google Assistant will monitor the call for you while you go back to doing whatever you need to do. When a human being gets on the line, you’ll be notified with a sound, vibration, and a notification on the screen while the representative is asked to hold so you can take the call. If at any time you get nervous and want to know what’s going on, you can monitor what’s being said — or played — via real-time caption on your phone’s screen.
Currently, Hold for Me is an optional feature that can be enabled in Google settings. It can be considered similar to other features Google has introduced to enhance the phone experience, such as call screening, which uses voice transcription to allow you to ask an unknown caller for information before you actually take the call.
Personally, as someone who has spent all too much time listening to the same tunes over and over again, I can’t wait for it to become more widely available.