Over the past several months, I've become increasingly familiar with how to block phone numbers in Google's Phone app: reject a suspicious call, go into my call history, long-press the dubious number, then tap "Block/report spam." This process is simple enough, but it's still just a reactionary, case-by-case measure. Android P may improve this call-blocking experience by giving users a smarter, preemptive way to block types of phone numbers — that is, so long as your carrier doesn't get in the way Read More
Since Alexa was updated to support voice calls and messaging, the common complaint has been that one can't block communications. There was no whitelist or blacklist so anyone with the app and your phone number would be able to call your device and force you to listen to their message. Even if a number were blocked on your phone, it would still ring your Echo. Well as of today that's no longer a problem. The Alexa app has now been updated to fix the privacy omission. You can now block contacts. Read More
AT&T is not usually one to leave money on the table, but in a rare showing of benevolence, it has launched a new service called Call Protect. It can be activated free on AT&T devices, allowing you to block numbers and get warnings of potential spam calls at the network level. Read More
There are about a half-dozen countries that have enacted some form of official "do not call" registry and many others that have signed in laws to prevent various types of spammy behavior from running rampant over the telephone system. Unfortunately, little to nothing is done to enforce these laws and the penalties usually aren't steep enough to discourage bad behavior. Google is taking matters into its own hands and giving users a way to fight back. Starting today, a new version of the Phone app is rolling out to Nexus and Android One devices with built-in spam warnings.
The warning feature comes as a part of the phone app's existing Caller ID capability, which already maintains a very thorough directory about various businesses. Read More
Apparently if you call an emergency number from your Android device, you can't block calls for the next 48 hours.
We don't know why this is the case, though we imagine it may be to prevent you from blocking your local police department or other emergency personnel. Read More
Google's Fi mobile virtual network allows users an impressive amount of fine grain control when it comes to selecting their data allowances. That being the case, it's especially important for users on low tiers to be aware of said usage, and to limit their data consumption when they stray away from the Wi-Fi homestead. A bug in the system created a problem there: it sometimes kept the GSM and/or LTE connection active if a user turned the data toggle off while still on Wi-Fi. Read More
In Android N, blocking numbers is becoming significantly more effective. That's because Google is making this a feature baked into the platform. Going forward, certain apps will be able to create a list of blocked numbers, and other ones will be able to view this information. Read More
Hey you, the guy with the New Jersey accent who keeps offering me a small business loan: I hate you. I hate you with a passion that eclipses any love or loathing that I have felt for anything in the mortal world. I hate you and your army of randomly-dialing robots, I hate you and your legions of foreign switchboard operators trying to sucker Americans into possibly illegal and/or phony loans. The multiple times that I've actually gone through your rigamarole claiming to be Archibald Buttz, the owner of a talking dildo emporium called "Buzzwords," has not kept you from calling me on my private cell phone several times a week. Read More