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Google tweaks Android Messages app to auto-classify or auto-delete messages

But only in India, and only in English … for now at least

Google has announced SMS-grooming tech that it will only offer in India.

Natalie Naruns, the ad giant’s Product Manager for the Android Messages app, wrote that the company’s Indian users say they get too many messages to manage.

The Messages app will therefore classify them automatically into categories including “personal”, “transactions”, and “one-time passwords”, among others.

Messages are filtered on the device, Naruns wrote — no pesky cloud action, promise!

One-time passwords can also be set to self-delete 24 hours after delivery.

Naruns wrote that feature was introduced “so you don’t have to spend time deleting them manually”.

The new features will appear only in India and only in English, and require Android 8 or later.

Why those limitations?

Android 8 was released in 2017, when the kind of hardware found in many of the keenly priced phones found in India was rather modest.

Text messages are enormously popular in India, and one-time passwords are very prevalent too. Preserving storage capacity will therefore be welcome, but asking pre-2017 hardware to do the filtering might a stretch.

While the English-only stance seems odd — given that just last week Google emphasised the multi-lingual capabilities of the new Android cut it has created for Indian carrier Jio — English is very commonly used in commerce and India’s other languages aren’t so prevalent that even Google would have AI ready to deliver a strong customer experience.

Narun’s role, however, is a global gig. So perhaps Google has its eye on similar features for the rest of the world. ®

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