Earlier this year, our APK guru Cody discovered signs of Verified SMS coming to Google's Messages app. At the time, we didn't know what the feature was exactly or how it'd work. With it starting to go live now, we've discovered that it doesn't work for all numbers, just businesses, and specifically those registered with Google.
In the Messages app, you'll find a new toggle in Settings -> Verified SMS. The option is enabled by default, but you can turn it off if you'd rather not use it.
Verified SMS setting.
The feature only works when an SMS appears to be sent by a verified business. Google will use authenticity codes to verify each SMS you receive to alert you of any spoofing attempt or misleading content, and thus save you from clicking on dangerous links or giving away your sensitive information to iffy sites. This verification uses a unique hash created based on your phone number, the business, and the message's content. Every unique hash is created on your device, then sent to Google which compares it against the one it received in parallel from the verified business.
- If the hashes match, Messages displays information about the business like its logo with a "verified" icon.
- If the codes don’t match, Messages shows “Message could not be verified.”
- If you have a weak data connection, Messages might say “Verifying sender…” until the process is done.
- If you have no data connection, Messages says “Waiting for connection to verify sender.”
Google's support page for the feature recommends you don't reply with any private info or open any links until the sender of the message is verified. It also explains that the company doesn't see your messages, nor does it track or store which businesses are communicating with you.
Verified SMS appears to only be available in the US at the moment. We've spotted it on the latest Messages beta v5.3.075 (APK Mirror), though it could be going live on the stable version as well. As always, this may be a server-side test too, so we don't know if it's available for everyone or not.
Google has officially announced that Verified SMS is gradually rolling out in Messages in Brazil, Canada, France, India, Mexico, Philippines, Spain, the UK, and the US, with more countries to come. Some of the first brands to have joined are 1-800 Flowers, Banco Bradesco, Fivestars, Kayak, Payback, and Sofi, plus Google's own Identity Verification and Google Pay.
Additionally, Messages' spam protection feature, which has been available for over a year for many users, is now broadly rolling out in the US.
- Nick Cipriani,