You can turn on the feature at the bottom of the phone app Settings> Spam and call screen> Call screen. From here, if you enable automatic call screening, your phone will not ring whenever you receive phone calls from specific phone numbers, and instead you will receive a silent notification that Google is currently screening a phone call.
What kind of phone number will be screened? It’s up to you. In general, your contacts should come through any person, but you can make four types of calls that you can screen up front: spam, “probably a fake number” (probably Google uses its fancy technology to find out), Calling for the first time and for a private or secret number. For each of these categories, you can choose to let them ring your phone (more on that option below) or screen the call and let Google automatically reject robots for you.
You should weigh each of these options carefully, depending on how many phone calls you make. Google’s system isn’t perfect – as mentioned above, Google has classified legitimate phone calls from Comcast as spam about my service – and even after it works you may forget that you turned it on and accidentally rejected or screened a call.
In my own case, I once accidentally screened a phone call from an interviewer whose number was not saved on my phone. They’ve never encountered Google’s call screen before, assuming they’ve called the wrong number and are stunned. And not to mention my phone rang, I missed that it happened until it was too late for the interview. Your mileage may vary, but if you regularly make lots of important phone calls, you may want to consider an alternative way to use the call screen.
Or: Screen phone call manually
Manual call screening is a great option if you don’t have too much control over Google. You do not need to do anything special to activate it. Instead, when you receive a phone call, you will have an extra button. Above being able to answer or reject the call, you can ask Google to screen the call for you.
When this happens, Google will ask someone on the other end of the line to identify them for you. Their answer will then be copied to the text for you, which you can read as it is being said. The feature will provide you with an alternative to basic follow-up questions and if you think the call is not in your time, you can press the red hang-up option and Google will tell the other person that you are not already available.
At any moment, however, you can pick up the call and receive it from Google. You’ll never get stuck waiting for a Google sentence to end, and the next moment you’ll be instantly connected. This is probably Google’s most useful calling feature, as it allows you to filter out automatic calls or telemarketers. While it is still possible for legitimate callers to be confused, the feature usually gives you enough explanation for the person on how they can communicate with it and communicate with you without much trouble.
Let Google keep it for you
Sitting down is the worst, but if a customer support line uses an automated system to wait for you until it’s ready for you, why not use the same strategies yourself? Hold for me is a Google phone feature that will hear the other end of the phone call (it won’t hear through your microphone) and will detect when a customer service agent picks up the phone and you know you can continue the call.
Like manual call screening, it is incredibly helpful without being too complicated to use. While the feature is holding you, a live transcription of what has been said will appear on your phone. It helps to make sure you don’t miss anything important without demanding your attention. In general, it seems pretty good to determine when you need to get back in line. For example, if the automated system needs more information from you to proceed through the support tree, your phone will also ring.