Android’s Phone App to Get Built-in Call Recording and Transcription

Posted on January 29, 2020 by Mehedi Hassan in Google, Android with 9 Comments

Google’s new Recorder app on Android is pretty powerful. The AI-powered transcription features are quite useful, and Google is apparently planning to bring some of those features to more places in Android.

According to 9to5Google, the latest version of the Google Phone app includes some code that hints at some upcoming features. And that includes call recording, as well as call transcription.

Built-in call recording on the Google Phone app will mean that you will easily be able to record a call without needing a third-party app. There is a catch, though: as it is not legally allowed to record a phone call without the consent of both parties, the Phone app will actually play a sound that will announce whenever you start/stop recording a call.

Google is also going to notify users of their legal liabilities when they do use the call recording feature. “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,” notes a part of the app.

And with call recording, Google will also enable support for call transcription, which could work much as it does on the Recorder app. Being able to record a call in real-time on your phone could turn out to be really useful for some people, so this sounds really promising.

As for now, the new update isn’t actually out yet — these new features were just found in the code of the app, so Google is actually yet to enable the feature. When it does enable the new features, though, we will make sure to let you know.

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Comments (9)

9 responses to “Android’s Phone App to Get Built-in Call Recording and Transcription”

  1. sgbassett

    Whether a participant in a call can record the cal without the permission of all other participants varies greatly from nation to nation and in the U.S., from state to state.

    I practice law in Michigan, which is a one party consent state. Any participant in a conversation may record it. However, you many not eavesdrop and record a conversation in which you are not a participant. Other states are two-party consent states where no recording is allowed unless both (all) parties consent. The Wikipedia article contains a list, but anyone with concerns should contact a lawyer in their nation or state. Most U.S. states are one party consent states where any participant in the call may record it without the permission of the other party(s).

    But then there is federal law to take into account, which means interstate calls may be affected by other laws. It can be a complicated area.

    • wright_is

      In reply to sgbassett:

      Yes. And here, you can't generally record, and if you do, you have to state for what purpose you are recording.

      If you state, for example, that you are recording for training purposes (the most common usage, here in Germany), you cannot later use the recording in court as evidence. If you want to use it as evidence in a possible court case, you have to make that clear up front.

  2. RonV42

    I assume that the transcription of the call will be done in the cloud thus Google will have another source of data.

  3. supermarkert

    Friendly reminder that this is really "Google's Phone app", and not "Android's Phone app". It can only be installed on Pixel devices (and possibly a very limited number of other pre-authorized phones). So it only applies to those users.

  4. t-b.c

    Notification of recording a call is subject to state laws, and many states (Colorado, for instance) only require one person involved on the call be aware that is being recorded. If Google doesn't allow the user to turn off notification then this functionality is less interesting.

  5. jordan_meyer

    This sounds great on paper but Scroogle prevents anyone from installing the Google dialer / phone app unless it was built in by the manufacturer (aka Google Pixels and a few others). Therefore, it will be a feature missed by many who use Samsung, Oneplus, and others who think they can build a better dialer than the platform maker...

  6. anoldamigauser

    So, they are going to allow users to access what they were already collecting?

  7. zeratul456

    "as it is not legally allowed to record a phone call without the consent of both parties, the Phone app will actually play a sound that will announce whenever you start/stop recording a call."

    Not where I live. Here, you can record any phone call or discussion you're personally in, as much as you want. Somehow, I doubt Google will care though. Europeans have always been second class citizens to Google.

  8. cnc123

    The important questions are:

    • Whether the 'Google Web and App Activity' permission will eventually include automatic call recordings or transcriptions
    • Whether Android apps with 'Phone' permission are going to have access to these features, so Facebook, ad companies and the NSA can literally listen to and data mine your phone calls.