Google took over Apple in a significant way after it addressed a problem which spread like a plague in the US- spam calls. Google’s new Pixel 3 flagship Android smartphone is the first ever phone that introduces a new feature- the call screening feature which leverages the built-in Google Assistant. This screening transcribes the caller’s request in real-time and allows the user to decide whether or not the call needs to be picked up, in addition to which gives a way for the user to respond.
There have been numerous leaks about Google’s new hardware but Google surprised us all when it spoke of Call Screen and the launch of Duplex for restaurant reservations. This is more prominent in comparison to the updated and fancy camera features that include Group Selfie and Top Shot features.
On the other hand, Apple has no such thing as a call screening feature. It only uses third-party call blocking applications, which are available on Android as well. Siri doesn’t have the ability to answer the phone on behalf of the user or politely ask the caller what their requirements are or transcribing their response instantly. It looks like Apple will need to catch up to Android’s new call feature quickly to stay on top of the game.
Call Screen is a feature that is based on Google’s Duplex technology and seems like a big step for smartphones and other devices. This avoids the need to query the Assistant asking for help with various tasks or to know about the day’s news and weather. In turn, this feature will help the phone’s assistant in dealing with real-world problems. Assistant can be used to call restaurants to inquire about tables, and can also be used to help us avoid the increasing number of spam calls. Spam calls are a big no-no for everyone and no company or mobile industry has been able to provide a solution to this problem so far. About 50 percent of the calls from next year will be spam and scam and their tactics have become worse from the past few months.
Fraudsters have started tricking people by claiming to be calling from the IRS, a bank, government representatives, etc. They pretend to help users by claiming that users are in some kind of legal trouble. They might also end up saying someone has stolen bank cards and claim that the user owes a number of taxes to the bank. In addition to this, they also use phone number spoofing tricks in order to make the calls look local so that recipients will pick up the calls.
The national Do-Not-Call registry hasn’t been able to solve this problem. Even though large FCC fines would be imposed if fraudsters are caught, the epidemic has continued and is getting worse day by day.
In the quest to solve the spam calls problem, Google has sought the help of Artificial Intelligence. A system has been designed that would sound more natural and would help do different types of tasks which a user wouldn’t generally wish to do, such as calling for bookings, screening the calls by questioning- “who is this, please?” , etc.
Google recently explained the Call screen, which will be present in the Pixel devices. This will help screen the call by allowing the user to tap a button when someone calls and send it to the new service. Google Assistant will answer the call on behalf of the user by saying- “Hi, the person you’re calling is using a screening service from Google, and will get a copy of this conversation. Go ahead and say your name and why you’re calling”. Further, the caller’s response is transcribed to real-time on user’s screen. These transcripts won’t be currently saved, but Google suggested that they can be stored in the call history for future references.
The caller can be handled by tapping on a variety of buttons in order to continue or end the conversation. The demo and support documentation included things like: “Who is this?,” “I’ll call you back,” “Tell me more,” “I can’t understand,” or “Is it urgent?”
The Assistant can also be used to say things like, “Please remove the number from your contact list. Thanks and goodbye.”.
The demo for this was shown after the recipient hit the “Report as spam” button.
Google’s own software Google Voice technology will be screening the incoming calls and this involves something more than asking for the caller’s name. All of this will be released using AI and this won’t need a Wi-Fi connection or mobile data. As this feature will be adopted, Google will slowly build its own database of scammers and will help feasibly block spam calls and telemarketers on behalf of users.
Google PM Liza Ma said- “You’ll never have to talk to another telemarketer”.
Call Screening is a use case for A.I. which doesn’t need a variety of user education or manual labor.
This feature will be rolled out to other Pixel devices by next month and might come on Android in time until the tests wrap up.