One of the more annoying parts of owning a cell phone these days is the number of robocalls and outright spam that randomly rings your phone from unknown numbers. To help combat these robocalls, Google Phone 42 is prepping for the Google Assistant to be able to automatically screen incoming calls from unknown numbers.

About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in case they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

With last year’s Google Pixel 3, the company unveiled its fantastically useful “Screen Call” button, which essentially lets the Google Assistant answer and transcribe potentially unwanted phone calls or just aggravate your loved ones. Admittedly, however, the feature isn’t perfect as those calls still ring your phone, as you still need to “answer” them by pressing the Screen Call button.

This morning’s Google Phone beta update shows Google is looking to make Screen Call a more seamless experience, preventing robocallers from ever ringing your phone in the first place. The new feature, cheekily codenamed “revelio,” after a “human-presence revealing spell” in the Harry Potter universe, will silently answer incoming calls from unknown numbers and determine whether or not they are a human caller.

<string name=”revelio_promotion_details”>Turn on automatic Call Screen to let your Google Assistant screen unknown calls automatically. Detected robocalls will be declined without interrupting you.</string>

<string name=”revelio_callers_how_it_works_text”>”To turn off automatic screening select the “Ring phone (default)” setting for unknown calls. Your contacts are never automatically screened. Automatic screening won’t work if your phone is connected to headphones or speakers.\n \nCall Screen doesn’t use data or Wi-Fi but does use carrier call minutes. %1$s”</string>

<string name=”revelio_demo_page_1_description”>Your Assistant automatically answers unknown calls. Detected robocalls are silently declined; other unknown calls ring a few moments later with a transcript of the call. %1$s</string>

<string name=”revelio_demo_page_2_description”>Your Assistant never automatically screens your contacts, so you receive their calls immediately.</string>

<string name=”revelio_demo_page_3_description”>”If a call isn’t automatically screened, you can tap to have your Assistant find out who’s calling so you can decide to answer or decline.”</string>

Google Phone’s automatic call screening seems to be fairly far along in the design process, as in-depth animations have been included in the app, and Jane Wong has already enabled the settings menu.

Elsewhere in the strings, it appears the Assistant will be able to properly “ring” your phone to get your attention once it’s determined that the caller is at the very least a genuine human being. Or, if you’re not able to make it to the phone, the Assistant will also offer a way for the caller to leave you a voicemail. For now, we’re not sure if this will go to your phone’s default voicemail or a special Google Assistant voicemail inbox.

<string name=”revelio_try_to_reach”>All right, hang on while I try to reach them.</string>

<string name=”revelio_transfer_to_voicemail”>”Sorry, but I couldn’t get ahold of them. If there’s anything else you’d like to let them know, go ahead and do so after the tone.”</string>

As the automatic call screening happens locally on your phone, you won’t be able to start a new call if the Assistant is in the middle of screening an incoming call.

<string name=”revelio_dialog_button_end_screen”>End current call, start new call</string>

<string name=”revelio_dialog_description”>Your Assistant is automatically screening an unknown call. To start a new call, end the current call.</string>

Additionally, Google Phone will soon offer the option to save the recordings from every time you use Screen Call, allowing you to go back through the history. Considering no system is perfect, this should also help you notice if the Google Assistant ever hangs up on a real caller.

<string name=”revelio_save_audio_setting_key”>revelio_save_audio_key</string>

<string name=”revelio_save_audio_setting_summary”>Save the audio from calls answered by your Assistant</string>

<string name=”revelio_save_audio_setting_title”>Save Call Screen audio</string>

How to update?

You can sign up for Google Phone’s beta program here, or by heading to the Play Store listing on Android and scrolling to the bottom. The latest beta version of Google Phone is immediately rolled out by Google when it’s available.

Thanks to JEB Decompiler, from which some APK Insight teardowns benefit.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

You’re reading 9to5Google — experts who break news about Google and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Google on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

Got a tip or want to chat? Twitter or Email.

Kyle Bradshaw's favorite gear