Recording phone calls is a very touchy subject. On the one hand, it definitely has practical uses, especially when recording phone interviews or meetings. On the other hand, it also raises a few privacy concerns. The latter may be one reason why Google hasn’t provided an official feature on Android to record calls but, based on some Google Phone app analysis, it might slowly be working towards finally fixing that long-standing problem.
Android has actually had some APIs for recording phone calls but those lasted until Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Then starting Android 9.0 Pie, Google also blocked any app from recording calls, at least on phones that aren’t rooted. Since then, the only recourse users had was to hope their OEMs implemented the functionality on their custom phone apps.
XDA’s teardown of the latest version of the Google Phone dialer app for the Pixel 4 revealed what could be the start of Google’s work towards bringing that functionality back. Specifically, the app included hidden labels related to recording, There is also a new icon that could help indicate if a call is being recorded.
It’s not unusual for Google to include snippets of what it’s working on in final versions of apps but it doesn’t give a clue when the feature will land or even if it will at all. The button to start call recording, for example, is noted to still be hidden and the functionality is most likely not yet present anyway.
Google could be working on creating a more proper API for OEMs to hook into to provide call recording functionality of their own. That said, Google will have to tread carefully especially given its reputation regarding privacy. A clear indicator or notice when a call is being recorded could already go a long way in warning users should they be caught unaware.