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Google adds spam protection and verification to SMS to make it better for business

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As well as working to deliver RCS, Google has also jumped into make good old SMS more useful to businesses, launching two new services that make SMS a more useful business tool.

The first, Verified SMS for Messages, is aimed at helping consumers confirm the true identity of businesses that are texting them.

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 — or phishing as it is known.

Verified SMS for Messages, rolling out today in a number of countries, 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-FlowersBanco BradescoKayakPayback, 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.

Verified SMS is rolling out gradually on Messages in nine countries, starting in the US, 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 SMS spam detection

In addition to verifying the businesses sending messages to consumers, Google is also working on protecting consumers from spam in Messages.

With Spam protection for Messages, Google can now warn recipients of suspected spam and unsafe websites its has detected. If a consumer sees a suspected spam warning in Messages they can help Google improve its spam models by letting the search giant know if it’s spam or not.

Consumes can also report spam texts in Messages at anytime, and block the conversation so they won’t receive future messages.

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.

Commenting on the move, Sudarshan Dharmapuri, EVP products, IMImobile, says: “An absence of verification and branding has been one of the main limitations of SMS, so it is great to see Google setting out to restore trust, improve experience and allow companies to measure success.”

Dharmapuri adds: “This development will prove particularly beneficial to the financial services sector, as ‘click this link to unblock your bank card’-style messages are one of the most common types of SMS-based scams that fraudsters try. When people fall victim to this kind of scam, trust in banks will be eroded through no fault of their own; this verification can cut off the problem at source, as people will know straight away whether the message is really from their bank or not.”

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