People don’t agree on much, but one thing everyone can agree on is how much it sucks to receive spam calls. To reduce how many spam calls people are tricked into picking up, Google is launching a new feature that provides users more information about who’s calling.
Known as Verified Calls by Google, the feature will show a caller’s name, logo, reason for calling, and a verification symbol that indicates the business has been authenticated by Google. The goal is to protect people from spam calls and fraud. The feature is available through the Google Phone app, which comes preloaded on Pixel and Android One devices. Last month, Google brought the Google Phone app to some non-Pixel phones, and in today’s release, the company said the app will soon be available on even more Android devices.
In order to have Verified Calls detect spam calls, a few things need to happen on the other side. Businesses must pass a verification process, and information must be sent to Google’s Verified Calls server. “When the business calls you, your device compares the incoming call information with the information Google received from the business,” Google explains in a support document. “If there’s a match, the Phone app displays the call as a Verified call.” Information is sent to Google’s servers over a Transport Layer Security (TSL) encrypted network. No personally identifiable information is collected or stored, while information that is sent to Google’s servers is deleted “within minutes.”
Google said it has been testing Verified Calls for a few months, and in that time, data has shown that people are more likely to answer their phone with the feature turned on. As an example, Google said banks calling to alert a customer about a possible fraudulent transaction can increase answer rates by stating the call reason.
Verified Calls is rolling out in the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, Spain, and India, with more countries to come later this year. The Google Phone app, meanwhile, will be available to download on more Android devices later this week.