Google has offered call transcriptions as part of its call screening service on Pixel phones for some time already, but we know the company is also working on native actual call recording in its Phone app. Following hints in the form of code strings in versions, XDA Developers managed to activate and use call recording for the first time on the current Phone beta, 44.0.291987060, which has also received a minor icon facelift.
Left: New record button. Middle: Recording in progress. Right: Recording finished.
Even though call recording isn't officially available yet, it already seems to work mostly fine. XDA Developers made a record button show up on the call interface. When you tap it, your phone conversation partner will be notified by a voice stating, "This call is now being recorded," and once you're done and tap the button again, they'll hear "Call recording has now ended." Before using the function for the first time, you'll also see a visual warning:
"When using the call recording feature, you are responsible for complying with applicable laws related to the recording of calls. Please be aware that many jurisdictions require the consent of both parties for such recording."
Given these legal hurdles, Google might very well limit call recording to specific countries and states, but we don't know if that will happen or not.
Once you're done with the call, you can find and play back the audio in Phone's Recents section, where you'll also have the option to share it as a .wav file. According to further strings in the app, it'll be possible to retrieve a transcript of the recording, too, but XDA Developers couldn't activate this part of the feature just yet.
Left: "Recording" indicator on latest call. Middle: Recording playback interface. Right: Note the "Transcript not available" string.
Recording has been successfully tested on calls from a Pixel 4 on Google Fi to a OnePlus 7 Pro on T-Mobile and the other way around, but couldn't be replicated on a Pixel 4 XL to iPhone call. The feature might also initially be limited to the latest Pixel phones, but it may as well roll out to other handsets later on or right from the beginning — we simply don't know from the currently available information.
The new beta also adds refreshed icons to all parts of the Phone app that are more in line with Google's recent outline-focused iconography, available instantly to everyone on this release.
Left: Previous versions. Right: Beta 44.
Unless you activate call recording through hacks, you won't find it in the beta version of Phone yet. If you want to be one of the first in line to receive it once it rolls out more widely while also enjoying the small icon refresh, sign up for the beta on the Play Store or download it straight from APK Mirror.
Video of the interface
9to5Google has also activated the recorder and published a video of the call screen in action. It shows the visual disclaimer before starting and the record button's soothing sound wave animation when it's active.
- XDA Developers