I won't be ignored: Google to banish caller roulette with Verified Calls

Authenticated business: 'No, there's a good reason for this call. Honest. Don't hang u-'

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Ad slinger Google is rolling out Verified Calls on its Phone App in the hope that its clients might stop you from ignoring calls from numbers you don't recognise.

The theory goes that if a user sees the business's name and the reason for the call pop up on their device, then they are more likely to actually take the call rather than adopting the knee-jerk reaction of "If it isn't in my phonebook then it's probably spam."

The fact that kind old Google has verified things will doubtless also be of great reassurance.

The system works by getting a business signed up with Google. Then, before it calls you, the business sends its number, your number and its reason for calling to Google's Verified Calls server. Google then sends this along to the Google Phone app on your phone.

Then, when that totally-not-spam call comes through, the device can check it against what Google sent through and show the call as a Verified Call.

Once verified ("within minutes" according to Google) the customer's number and reason for the call are deleted from Google's servers. The advertising behemoth also insisted that it wouldn't share sensitive information about users with its business partners.

The feature comes hot on the heels of last year's Verified SMS, which confirmed who was actually sending texts. Google touted a study claiming that the service "significantly improved performance on metrics like likelihood to purchase"...in case one was in any doubt as to at least some of the thinking behind its largesse.

While Google has had a form of call screening for a while, with its Assistant automatically answering calls, the service is US and Canada only, and only for Pixel and "select Android" phones. It is also something of a blunt instrument compared to an authenticated business making it as far as the user's screen and the customer deciding then if the call should be taken.

Verified Calls, which requires the use of the Google Phone app (and so also not on all Android phones) also has a distinctly more international flavour, rolling out first in Mexico, Brazil, Spain and India as well as the US.

We asked the search giant when Blighty might get in on the action. The ad-slinger has previously said that Verified calls are bundled in for Google Ads customers using Smart campaigns, its pay-per-click (and we guess, phone call) ad service. Its pricing is very opaque: with costs that "vary from day to day", but kindly Google assures clients "won't be charged more than your maximum monthly budget."

As for the Phone app, it's preinstalled on Pixel and Android One devices and the new feature is coming to more devices and Android versions. Not to worry, 'droid fans - other stock diallers and contacts managers are available. ®

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