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Google Call Screen: a robot that will answer spam calls
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-10-09 23:46:58

Not everything got leaked before Google's event today. One surprise announcement that wowed was Call Screen, a new feature that lets the Google Assistant answer your incoming calls and politely ask what the caller wants. A real-time transcript will appear on your screen, allowing you to decide whether or not you want to pick up.

When your Pixel rings, a "Screen call" button shows up alongside the usual controls. Tapping it will prompt the Google Assistant to tell your caller that the call is being screened and ask what it's about. Their explanation is transcribed on your screen, and you have options to mark the call as spam or tell the caller you'll get back to them, among others.

This is an amazing feature that will save a lot of people a lot of frustration. I want this feature on my phone now.

On a related note, Google Duplex, the feature whereby the Google Assistant will call restaurants and such on your behalf, will be rolled out to Pixel phones next month.

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Read Comments: 1-10 -- 11-20 -- 21-27
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It doesn't actually ANSWER the phone though, does it?
By WorknMan on 2018-10-09 23:59:18
> When your Pixel rings, a "Screen call" button shows up alongside the usual controls.

Can I just turn on an option to have the phone answer the call automatically and screen for any number not on my contacts list? Otherwise, if I have to lift up the phone and hit a 'screen' button then wait to see who it is, it would be faster just to pick up the phone and hang up on the robocaller.

IMO, the whole point of a feature like this SHOULD be to not interrupt me every time a spam call comes in. Otherwise, it's a waste of time.

Edited 2018-10-09 23:59 UTC
Permalink - Score: 6
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Defeats the point?
By cosmotic on 2018-10-10 00:01:40
Whether you answer the phone or have the google assistant answer, you will still need to give your phone your undivided attention, so what is this feature really getting you?
Permalink - Score: 0
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Enough Google in my life
By Cutterman on 2018-10-10 09:09:51
I think that I've got quite enough Google in my life already, thank you.

If I call someone and get a robot voice asking me my business, I'm inclined just to hang up.

Mac
Permalink - Score: 1
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RE: Defeats the point?
By M.Onty on 2018-10-10 09:16:23
> so what is this feature really getting you?

Not giving the bastards the satisfaction of getting through to you.

Also, most call centre callers (legitimate or spammers) won't leave answer phone messages. This will let you see who called you, even if you don't bother giving it your full attention. You can make an informed decision whether to call them back or not later, rather than bloody Googling a mystery number to find out if its the gas-man or an insurance scammer.
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Google's AI isn't necessary
By M.Onty on 2018-10-10 09:23:41
I like the idea. But it doesn't need AI, not really. Its just being used because Google spent a lot of money developing some AI, now they need to find a use for it. That's fine, but its not needed.

Ever been fooled by one of your smart-arse friends who has an answer-machine in their voice that says something like, "Oh hi... Yep. Uh huh. Yep... Oh actually I can't get the the phone right now"?

Far more realistic to do something like that. Got a call coming through you don't recognise? Rather than take it you hit 'play filter message' and they get, "Hello, who is this please? I don't recognise the number..." which you recorded in your voice.

Could have done that in the 1950s.

Then you can listen in to their response. Hell, I suppose Google could use its AI to transcribe the response if it really is that desperate to find some purpose for it.
Permalink - Score: 3
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But... Can it work on both sides ?
By _QJ_ on 2018-10-10 10:00:16
So I may loose my little pleasure...

Let the "vendor" try to sell me an insurance I already own for looong minutes and just answering by mumbling (or not answering at all, just breathe in the microphone).
... Until he/she stops because I just play with his/her nerves.

What funny moments I may lose !

But if this kind of technology can do the same and transcript or record the session, I must admit it will become very fun.

But what if companies use AI to call you to, try to sell you something... And your AI answer ?!?

Edited 2018-10-10 10:01 UTC
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Won't help
By darknexus on 2018-10-10 12:23:48
Any activity on your number generally flags robots to call you more often. This will count as activity.
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RE: Enough Google in my life
By darknexus on 2018-10-10 12:43:17
With you all the way! I get enough stupid robots asking for information when I try to get to a live person on legitimate company business. Anyone who starts doing that to me on an individual basis, I will never call again!
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RE: Won't help
By cb88 on 2018-10-10 13:59:48
The screen call should just tie up the robot for as long as possible... without any user intervention.

Win-Win doesn't bother me and also reducess the effectiveness of the robocaller. And hey if they call my number more... they just get tied up more.
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RE: Enough Google in my life
By placebo on 2018-10-10 14:22:23
> If I call someone and get a robot voice asking me my business, I'm inclined just to hang up.
Totally agree.
Permalink - Score: 1

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