Google is updating its Messages app by bringing a Verified SMS feature that will help users confirm the true identity of the businesses texting them. The new feature, which is rolling out in India and select other markets globally, is designed to highlight the authenticity of businesses on the Messages app by verifying them on a per-message basis. This will help users understand whether they should trust the messages they’ve received from a specific business or ignore them by considering as a spam. Separately, Google is broadly rolling out the spam protection feature in the US that it kicked off back in December last year.
With the Verified SMS feature, Google is aiming to make the Messages app a better platform for receiving text messages. You’ll see the business name and logo directly on the message thread — along with a verification badge — once you receive a message from one of the businesses enrolled for the Verified SMS feature. This is fair enough to identify the authenticity of a text message from a business.
“When Verified SMS is on and you receive a message from a business registered with Google, Google translates the message you receive into an unreadable authenticity code, all on your device. Then, Google compares this code with unreadable authenticity codes sent to Google by the business,” the company writes on a support page elaborating the new feature.
The support page also underlines the fact that Google uses the phone number of your device to create authenticity codes, though it doesn’t exactly see the messages you receive for the verification purpose.
Google Pay India and verification codes from Google will be amongst the first contacts that will be enrolled in Verified SMS. Brands such as 1-800-Flowers, Banco Bradesco, Kayak, Payback, and SoFi are also the first few entities to get verified for the new feature. Furthermore, Google says that “more businesses” are signing up to use Verified SMS on a daily basis.
The Verified SMS feature is rolling out gradually on Google Messages in eight countries apart from India. These are namely the US, Mexico, Brazil, the UK, France, Philippines, Spain, and Canada.
“Verified SMS is just one of our efforts to improve your messages with businesses; we also continue to work on enhancing the chats you have on Messages with Rich Business Messaging (RBM),” Google Messages software engineer Roma Slyusarchuk says in a blog post.
Alongside Verified SMS, Google has announced that it is broadly rolling out the spam protection feature in the US. The feature was spotted initially back in late 2018 with the aim to warn users of suspected spam and unsafe weblinks available within text messages. An option to report spam text messages is also provided through the new feature.
Google claims that spam protection works with “your message data while keeping your messages private.” This means that the company doesn’t read the content you receive to mark spam messages out. A support page is also available to detail the process.