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Google helps you detect spams texts with new Messages app features

Google Inc

Google rolled two new features for its Messages app so users can better combat spam and phishing. The tech giant just added on Thursday a spam detection to the popular Android messaging app which would make it easier for users to know if a message is a spam or not.

The spam protection feature will issue an in-app warning when a new message is suspected to be spam, CNET reported. Users will then have the option to mark the text as just a regular message or mark it as spam and have it reported.

“With Spam protection for Messages, we warn you of suspected spam and unsafe websites we've detected,” Google wrote in a blog post. “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.”

The real-time spam detection feature even allows users to block entire conversations. Once blocked, users will no longer receive messages from that specific sender.

Google said that the feature was already available in the past year to users of the Messages app in some countries. However, the anti-spam option only rolled out to the app’s US-based users on Thursday.

The company announced that it will temporarily store the phone numbers that are not in the user’s contact for sent and received messages if the spam feature is turned on. This is a necessary step to help Google identify scammers.

However, the company assures that these numbers won’t be linked to the Messages app users in any way. “This data is not linked to you or to identifiers like your name or phone number, which means Google doesn’t know who you’re messaging,” Google wrote. “Your message content is not seen or stored by Google as part of this feature.”

Aside from spam protection, Google simultaneously rolled out another feature called Verified SMS. It will now be easier to see if the number sending texts are verified business because the business name, logo and verification badge will appear in the message thread.

The company is aware that it’s hard to trust the identity of a message sender these days with the prevalence of phishing that’s why it came up with this idea. “Yet sometimes it can be difficult to trust the identity of these messages, which are often sent from a random number,” Google noted. “Some messages may even come from bad actors pretending to be from businesses you trust and ask for private information or link to dangerous websites—this is called phishing.”

Some of the first brands already enrolled in the Verified SMS feature include SoFi, Payback, 1-800 Flowers, Banco Bradesco, and Kayak. The feature is gradually rolling out in nine countries which include the US, the UK, France, Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, Spain, and the Philippines.

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