Despite attempts by legislators and carriers, spam calls are still a problem for most people owning phones. Some don't pick up their phones at all unless it matches someone in their contacts, which can be a problem for legitimate businesses attempting to quickly reach customers. Google's solution to the problem is Verified Calls, which is now rolling out to the Google Phone app. At the same time, the company is allowing some devices to download the Phone app from the Play Store that didn't originally come with it.
The Verified Calls feature first came to light in June, when Google published a support article about how Verified Calls work, but today the company has shared more details in a blog post. When a supported company calls you, the name, logo, reason for calling, and a verified symbol is shown.
"We’ve been piloting Verified Calls for a few months," Google said, "and the early results indicate that it improves the likelihood of someone answering a call. [...] A wide range of businesses and institutions have been using Verified Calls during the pilot. For instance, banks calling to alert a customer about a possible fraudulent transaction can increase answer rates by stating the call reason. A food delivery or logistics company can do the same to make sure customers are available to receive their deliveries."
The support page explains that verification is only supported for approved businesses that pass a verification process. Verified Calls also doesn't "collect or store any personally identifiable information after verification," and all business data is transferred over a secure TLS connection. The feature is going live first in the US, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, and India, and more countries will come later.
Google is also making the Phone app downloadable for even more devices from the Play Store, as we spotted last month in the app's beta listing, instead of only limiting it to devices that shipped with it (like Pixels and Nokia devices). The expanded support doesn't seem to be live yet, as the only phones I can download the stable release on are devices that already have the Google Phone app, but Google says it will start with a limited set of devices running Android 9 Pie and newer.
- Google Blog