Google’s Pixel line of smartphones never have the best hardware of any Android phone, but Google makes up for it with software. Previous Pixels have debuted features like Call Screen and Google Assistant. Now, the long-rumored call recording feature may be on the verge of release. Over at XDA, they’ve managed to coax the Google dialer app to activate the unreleased call recording feature, giving us a glimpse at how it’ll work.
XDA used a beta build of the Google Phone app, and the feature appears to be almost completely done. To start a recording, you’ll just have to tap the new “record” button on the call screen. It captures audio from both sides of the conversation and saves it for later review.
This all varies greatly from the myriad “call recording” apps you’ll find in the Play Store. Those almost invariably just record from the phone’s microphone, which produces poor results. The apps were even more hamstrung by privacy changes implemented in Android 9. So, it’s up to phone makers to add call recording as a feature, and most don’t.
There are legal restrictions on call recording that vary from state to state and country to country. To cover all (or at least most) of its bases, the Google feature will announce to both parties that recording as started. Google will also leverage its voice transcription capabilities to make the recordings into text that can be searched. For privacy reasons, this will probably take place on the device like Google’s Live Transcription feature.
We don’t know when this feature will roll out. It’s possible Google will save it for the Google I/O conference in a few weeks. We can, however, safely assume that it will be exclusive to Pixel phones for a while at least. Other Pixel exclusives like Call Screen eventually expanded to a handful of non-Google devices from Motorola and Nokia. Call recording will likely be the same. Xiaomi might also have a role here — the call recording code popped up in the Phone app just after the Chinese company announced that it would start pre-installing Google’s Phone app instead of its own custom app.
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