What is Google's Call Screen Feature and How Does it Work?

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The option to screen a call is displayed on a Pixel 2.

Google Assistant's call screening feature lets you see who is calling, and what they want to talk to you about. Call screening lets Google Assistant answer your phone calls, and gives you a transcript of what is being said in real time.

You can choose to tell the caller you aren't available, ask for more information, or pick up the call once you know it's a legitimate caller that you need to speak to.

At this time call screening is only available for the Google Pixel, Pixel 2, and Pixel 3 phones. However, it may be coming to Android One Motorola and Nokia phones in the near future.

What is Google Assistant Call Screening?

The call screening feature is something rolled out with the Pixel 3, and Pixel 3XL in October of 2018. It's an automatic feature that gives you the option to have Google Assistant screen calls from numbers you don't know.

Google Assistant displays a transcript for screened calls.

When a phone call comes in, you'll see an option to screen calls. If you tap this, it launches Google Assistant to answer the phone for you. A screen appears showing what Assistant is saying to the caller, as well as the caller's responses.

Once the person calling you has answered Google Assistant, you'll see prompts at the bottom of your screen. These include things like "Is it urgent?", or "I can't understand you" to prompt the caller for more information. You can also choose "I'll call you back", or "Report as spam" to end the call without speaking directly to the person calling.

This feature appeared after robocalls and spam calls began to become more persistent. It's an easy way to answer a call from numbers you don't recognize, without having to actually interact if the caller is spam or a scam call.

Screening calls from numbers you don't recognize is a great way to make sure something is important before paying much attention to it. You can pick up the call at any time, so it's an easy way to ensure you aren't spending time on the phone when you don't need to.

Google Screen Call Transcripts

Google also saves the transcripts from screened calls, which can be handy if you want to review information from a call. You can find this transcript inside the call details of a screened call. If you'd prefer not to have a record, you can also delete the transcript by deleting the call log entry for that phone number.

A transcript from a call answered by Google Call Screening.

Things to Remember

Google's Call screening feature makes it easy to see who is calling, and why, without having to physically answer an unfamiliar phone number. Google Assistant speaks to the caller while giving you a transcript of everything said, and options to end the call or get more information. While you never have to use this feature, it can make it easier to avoid calls that are a waste of your time, and ensure you're only picking up the phone when you actually need to.