Google has just announced Verified Calls which is the new feature in the Google Phone app that identifies calls on basis of who is calling, the caller’s logo and the reason for calling. The main idea behind the addition of a feature like this is to tackle phone call frauds. Phone frauds are a serious problem in India and other parts of the world and with the rollout of Verified Calls, the Google Phone app on Android devices will show you who is calling and why, the call will also come with a verified badge if the business has been authenticated by Google. This feature will be rolling out across the world starting with India, Spain, Brazil, Mexico and the US, and takes on Truecaller heads-on.
Google pointed to a 2019 FTC report in its blogpost about the Verified Calls to state that phone calls were the number one way people reported is being “contacted by scammers”. And while most people hung up on those calls, there were others who lost money, “a median loss of $1,000”. “Spam and scam calls erode trust in business and increase costs to consumers,” wrote Google. The Verified Calls feature is available with the Google Phone app for Android that it should come pre-loaded on most Android devices, but you can also download it later this week in case your smartphone uses a custom dialler. Post that, when you get a call from a business, you will be able to see who is calling, the reason for calling and if the business is verified, you will see a white tick in a blue shield.
“This is done in a secure way—Google doesn’t collect or store any personally identifiable information after verification,” the company explained in that blog. This service is important for businesses in particular. Truecaller offers an identical service and has been immensely popular, particularly in India, for this reason itself since it helps avoid scam calls. In fact, Truecaller improved its service for iPhone users by rolling out with better call and SMS filters recently. However, Google’s Verified Calls goes a step further by also mentioning why the person is calling, this is not a feature available on Truecaller yet.
“We’ve been piloting Verified Calls for a few months, and the early results will indicate that it improves the likelihood of someone answering a call. This in turn helps reduce business costs while identifying relevant calls to people in a trustworthy way,” Google explained. The company gave the example of banks alerting a customer about a possible fraudulent transaction and a customer potentially rejecting the call assuming it’s spam. This feature also is immensely helpful for food delivery companies and courier services.