With an aim to make Google a safe platform to exchange messages, the company has added two more features to its messages app on Android. The features, verified SMS and spam detection, are aimed at weeding out malicious SMSs.
Verified SMS for Messages is aimed at helping users confirm the true identity of the business that’s texting them. The feature works by verifying, on a per-message basis, that content is sent by a specific business. When a message is verified, which is done without sending the users’ messages to Google, they can see the business name and logo as well as a verification badge in the message thread.
“SMS messages help businesses share useful information with consumers, things like one-time passwords, account alerts or appointment confirmations. Yet sometimes it can be difficult to trust the identity of these messages, which are often sent from a random number,” Google said in a blog post.
The company also added that some messages may even come from bad actors pretending to be from businesses the users trust and ask for private information or link to dangerous websites, which is called phishing.
The verified SMS feature, rolled out in nine countries, starting in the US, India, Mexico, Brazil, the U.K., France, Philippines, Spain and Canada, has been signed up by 1-800-Flowers, Banco Bradesco, Kayak, Payback, and SoFi. Google Pay India and verification codes from Google will also be enrolled in verified SMS.
Additionally, the company has been working on protecting users from spam in Messages. With Spam protection for Messages, Google will warn users of suspected spam and unsafe websites it has detected. “If you see a suspected spam warning in Messages you can help us improve our spam models by letting us know if it’s spam or not. You can also report spam texts in Messages at any time, and block the conversation so you won’t receive future messages,” the company said.
Google will show an exclamation mark on red background if it detects that a message isn’t safe. The users have to confirm a spam message and Google will then work on detecting spam.
Meanwhile, according to a recent Truecaller report, Indians receive about 26 spam calls every month on average. The third edition of ‘Truecaller Insights Report, by the Sweden-based company, revealed the list of top 20 counties affected by spam in the world. Surprisingly, India dropped from second to fifth spot in global spam call ranking compared to previous year’s report.