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Its used to direct the water to the tub spout holding the gate up while the shower is being used and help prevent the showerhead from dribbling when filling the tub is desired. Its a really neato fitting I think Its used in combination with a diverting tub spout.
Most modern tub valves have them built into the faucet.
You just reminded me how much of a pain in the az it is to strap the spout stub out due to the change of depth in the wall for the riser going back up to the shower head,which by the way needs to be offset for the valve block if it's put behind the valve.
I suspect one of the reasons they are not built into the Grohes is European valves are designed with much lower pressures and are less likely to overwhelm the shower-head. As I recall a lot of their stuff (European) is designed for pressures under 40 psi.
BTW: Today's project is to replace my regulator. Brenda says the relief valve has been leaking for weeks so I checked and the house-pressure is 160 psi.