Tag Archives: Messages

Safer conversations in Messages with Verified SMS and Spam Protection

In addition to enhancing messaging on Android with Rich Communication Services (RCS)  and bringing you helpful features with Messages, we also want to provide a safer messaging experience. Today we have two new updates to share on that front.


Trustworthy business messages with Verified SMS


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. 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.


Verified SMS for Messages, rolling out today in a number of countries, will help you confirm the true identity of the business that’s texting you. 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 your messages to Google—you’ll see the business name and logo as well as a verification badge in the message thread. 


1-800-Flowers, Banco Bradesco, Kayak, Payback, and SoFi are among the first brands to send messages with Verified SMS. Google Pay India and verification codes from Google will also be enrolled in Verified SMS. And more businesses are signing up to use Verified SMS every day.

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Verified SMS is rolling out gradually on Messages in nine countries, starting in the U.S., India, Mexico, Brazil, the U.K., France, Philippines, Spain and Canada, with more to come. 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).


Real-time spam detection 


In addition to verifying the businesses sending you messages, we are working on protecting you from spam in Messages. 


With Spam protection for Messages, we warn you of suspected spam and unsafe websites we’ve 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 anytime, and block the conversation so you won’t receive future messages.

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Spam protection, which works with your message data while keeping your messages private, has been available over the past year in a number of countries and is now rolling out broadly in the U.S. 

Upgrading messaging on Android in the U.S. with RCS

Our Messages app brings you a seamless and helpful messaging experience on Android, from connecting you on mobile and desktop, giving you suggestions from the Google Assistant, and making it easy to search your conversations.


To make your conversations more seamless, we’ve worked on upgrading traditional SMS text messaging with more useful chat features, powered by RCS (Rich Communication Services). When you and your friends message each other with these chat features, you can chat over Wi-Fi or mobile data, send and receive high-resolution photos and videos, and see if people have received your latest messages. Plus, you’ll get better group chats, with the ability to name groups, add and remove people to and from groups, and see if people haven’t seen the latest messages. 


Chat features are already available for some of you in Messages, and today we’re starting to broadly roll them out in the U.S. If you already have Messages, you’ll also be prompted to enable chat features in the coming weeks. If you don’t have Messages, you can download it on the Play Store. We expect this service to be broadly available in the U.S. by the end of year.
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Earlier this year, we enabled the ability for anyone in the UK, France, and Mexico to get chat features in Messages and we’ll continue to work on bringing this to everyone on Messages around the world. We’re also committed to working with our partners, including carriers and device makers, to provide a consistent and interoperable experience for everyone on Android.


Access the Assistant in Messages, plus the latest on RCS

Chances are you’ve sent a handful of messages today—to your family, your friends, and maybe even a business. With Messages, we want to help you easily connect to those people and get more done with fewer taps.


Last year we brought a number of new features to Messages, including better search, quicker access to your camera, GIFs, and the ability to chat from the web. Messages also includes Smart Reply, which gives you quick suggestions for replies. One out of every ten messages in English are sent using Smart Reply, and this week we’re rolling out Smart Reply in Spanish. Today we’re sharing an update on a new feature you’ll start to see soon in the app.


One tap to ask the Google Assistant for more information


Over the coming months, you’ll be able to get help from the Google Assistant within Messages for English users around the globe. The Messages app uses on-device AI to offer suggestion chips (similar to Smart Reply) relevant to your conversation, helping you quickly find and share information about three categories to start: movies, restaurants and weather.


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You can tap on the suggestion chip to learn more from your Assistant, and if you find the info is helpful, you can share the information in your conversation. If you’re chatting about a movie, you might see a suggestion chip to learn more about that film. By tapping the chip, you can ask the Assistant to pull up a card with recent movie reviews or showtimes, which you can choose to share back into your conversation with just another tap. If you don’t choose to share that information, the other person won’t see it.


Improving the standard messaging experience with RCS


To improve the standard messaging experience on Android, we’ve been working with many of our ecosystem partners, including Samsung, Huawei, America Movil, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, Telenor, and Vodafone to make RCS (Rich Communication Services) more widely available. Google has helped to launch RCS with partners in 24 countries, bringing enhanced features in your conversations like group chats, read receipts, and high quality media sharing. We will continue to work to bring better messaging to every Android user, regardless of their device or carrier.


We also want to improve the messages you get from brands to be more interactive and give you the opportunity to learn and do more. For example, with Walgreens in the U.S., patients receive prescription refill reminders and notifications when orders are ready for pickup. With Citi, select U.S. credit card and retail bank customers can quickly check their balance or see a short history of recent transactions. These messaging experiences are built as part of Google’s RCS Business Messaging program with messaging partners 3CInteractive and LivePerson.


We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the industry to bring better messaging to Android users everywhere.


The latest on Messages, Allo, Duo and Hangouts

Communicating with the people in our lives is one of the most important things we do every day, whether it’s chatting with friends about an upcoming trip, calling mom to check in, or touching base with colleagues. Over the past few years, we’ve built products to help improve the way you communicate and today we’re sharing an update on our current efforts, and our focus moving toward a simpler communications experience.


Investing more in Messages, and bringing the best of Allo to Messages

We want every single Android device to have a great default messaging experience. We’ve been working closely with the mobile industry to upgrade SMS so that people around the world can more easily enjoy group chats, share high-res photos, and get read receipts on any Android device. Thanks to partnerships with over 40 carriers and device makers, over 175 million of you are now using Messages, our messaging app for Android phones, every month.


In parallel, we built Google Allo, a smart messaging app, to help you get more done in your chats and express yourself more easily. Earlier this year we paused investment in Allo and brought some of its most-loved features—like Smart Reply, GIFs and desktop support—into Messages. Given Messages’ continued momentum, we’ve decided to stop supporting Allo to focus on Messages.


Allo will continue to work through March 2019 and until then, you’ll be able to export all of your existing conversation history from the app—here are instructions on how to do so. We've learned a lot from Allo, particularly what’s possible when you incorporate machine learning features, like the Google Assistant, into messaging.


Making video calls even easier with Duo

We built Duo, our simple, high-quality video calling app, so you never miss a moment with the people who matter most. It’s one of Google's highest rated mobile apps and is seeing strong growth and engagement across both Android and iOS.


This year we launched Duo support for iPad, Android Tablet, Chromebook, and Smart Displays, giving you more flexibility to make calls from your favorite devices. We also launched the ability to leave a video message, and will continue to bring more quality improvements based on machine learning that make video calls with Duo simple and reliable.


Continuing our enterprise focus with Hangouts

Communications at work, on both desktop and mobile, is critical to business success. In March of last year, we announced plans to evolve classic Hangouts to focus on two experiences that help bring teams together: Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet. We’ve seen great adoption with both among our G Suite customers. Recently, we announced the ability to organize meetings with up to 100 participants in Meet and made it easier for businesses to use meeting solutions without worrying about compatibility with existing equipment. In the coming months, Chat customers will be able to include people from outside of their organization, making it easy to stay aligned with clients, vendors, partners and others, all from one place.


Hangouts Chat and Meet are primarily focused on team collaboration for G Suite customers and at some point will be made available for existing Hangouts users, too. We’re fully committed to supporting Hangouts users in the meantime.


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We’re excited by the progress we’ve made with our communications experience over the past few years, and ready to take what we’ve learned from Allo and put it to work to make Messages even better. And by refocusing on Messages and Duo for consumers and Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet for team collaboration, we’re focused on delivering a simpler and more unified communications experience for all of you.