It looks like the Google Phone app — the default dialer app on many phones, including the search giant’s Pixel line and Android One devices — could get a call recording feature.
According to XDA Developers, decoded resources obtained from Google Phone app version 43.0.289191107 on a Pixel 4 include a new layout, icon and other assets related to a call recording feature. Further, a string of code obtained from the Phone app suggests there will be a button present while in a call for initiating call recording.
The Verge points out that call recording on Android devices has a difficult past. While it used to be widely available through an official API, which allowed third-party apps to record calls, Google removed it in Android 6.0 Marshmallow. With Android 9.0 Pie, Google clamped down on workarounds used by app developers to continue offering call recording.
Due to Google’s restrictions on call recording, only certain manufacturers’ custom dialer apps, hacky workarounds and rooted devices could record calls. In April 2019, an XDA report suggested Google could bring back call recording with a new API in a future version of Android, but “security and privacy implications” stopped it from coming with Android 10.
Further, The Verge also notes that call recording is available via third-party apps in some countries and devices, while not in others. Likely, this has to do with variances in call recording laws, which can be very different depending on where you live. In Canada, Section 184 of the Criminal Code states that one party in a private call must consent for a recording of that call to be legal.
While Google adding call recording to the Phone app wouldn’t change the laws, it would make recording calls easier in regions where it’s legal to do so.
However, it’s worth noting that call recording might not come to Pixel devices at all. XDA notes that Google added the code to the app after Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi announced it would switch to Google’s Phone app in Europe instead of its own MIUI dialer. That dialer previously allowed for call recording, so it’s possible Google is adding the feature for Xiaomi phones.
That said, there’s still hope the feature could come to Pixel devices. And, considering how good the Recorder app is, the potential for a call recording feature is exciting.