Google Pixel phones get a Lookup feature that tries to ID unknown callers

The Google Pixel's new Lookup button will run a search on an unknown number to try to identify the caller.
Written by Lance Whitney, Contributor
Google Pixel 8 display sitting on table.
Max Buondonno/ZDNET

With spammers and scammers always on the prowl, many of us probably ignore phone calls from unknown numbers. Just because the number is unknown, however, doesn't mean the call isn't legitimate and potentially important. Now, a feature coming to Google's Pixel phones will help you track down the source behind an unknown phone number.

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The new Lookup button on Pixel phones gives you the option to run a search on a phone number that appears on the Recents screen. After tapping the Lookup button, you can choose from a list of apps that handle web searches, including Google Search. Appearing in the latest Google Phone app beta version 127.0.620688474, the feature was spotted by noted tipster AssembleDebug, who tipped off Pixel news website Piunikaweb.

Sure, you can always manually run a search for an unfamiliar number by typing or copying and pasting it into your browser's search engine. That's what many Android users do. The point of the button is to save you time by more seamlessly kicking off such a search.

The Lookup button isn't a brand new feature; it debuted in March 2024 on Pixel devices in Japan, Piunikaweb reported last month. Now, however, Google appears to be releasing it to Pixel users around the world. And though the feature appears limited to Pixel phones for now, AssembleDebug told me via a direct message that it won't be exclusive to Pixels.

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The current version of the feature is designed to identify calls from businesses that have their contact information on Google, Piunikaweb said. It's thus not set up to provide details on individuals and therefore wouldn't be able to replace spam call blockers like Truecaller. Piunikaweb speculates that such third-party apps could, however, integrate with the feature eventually.

Testing the Lookup button requires not only the latest Google Phone app beta but a rooted phone with certain flags enabled. Unless you're willing to take this route, just wait until Google rolls out Lookup to your Pixel phone.

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