In the last release of the Google Phone app, our team uncovered that the app was gaining the ability to record phone calls. Tonight, Google Phone 44 has released with more preparations for that feature, including the ability to have your recorded call transcribed.

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.

Call recording

When the possibility was raised of the Google Phone app allowing call recording, one of the first concerns was how this feature could be safely and legally enabled. To cover the legal bases, the Google Phone 44 includes a disclaimer to be shown before you can begin recording for the first time, making sure you know that you may need your conversation partner’s permission to record legally.

<string name=”call_recording_disclaimer_title”>Disclaimer</string>

<string name=”call_recording_disclaimer_content”>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.</string>

<string name=”call_recording_disclaimer_agreen_button_text”>Agree</string>

To ensure all parties are aware when you are or are no longer recording, it appears that a voice will announce each time that recording has begun or ended. This should prevent any illicit or covert recordings from happening courtesy of Google Phone.

<string name=”call_recording_starting_voice”>This call is now being recorded</string>

<string name=”call_recording_ending_voice”>Call recording has now ended</string>

Call transcription

With the ability to record calls also comes the possibility of transcribing those voice conversations, a task that the Google Recorder app has already proven itself quite capable of. Details are slim for now, but a lone string has been added pointing to call recordings being used to create transcriptions. This would be an absolute godsend for anyone who has to suffer through phone meetings.

<string name=”call_recording_transcript_not_available”>Transcript not available</string>

Update 1/29: Our Dylan Roussel managed to enable the new call recording features in Google Phone 44.

In his testing, we’ve confirmed our suspicions that the voice heard when call recording begins is the Google Assistant. This voice clip is only played to the call recipient.

Alongside his enabling, we also found that call recording will require your device to be on Android Pie or newer.

How to update Google Phone?

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 the Google Phone app is immediately rolled out when it’s available.

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

Dylan Roussel contributed to this article

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About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

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

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