If you thought web page ads and e-mail spam were the most annoying things in the world, then you probably have been on the receiving end of spam calls. This day and age, it is still common to receive such unwanted attempts on our smartphones. Luckily, technology has made identifying and blocking those numbers a lot easier. Google has finally made use of that technology for its Android phone app, giving users much needed peace of mind. The catch? It’s only available for Google’s own smartphones.
The way it works is easy enough. Google already holds a wealth of phone numbers in its database (which might scare some to death) and already does caller ID on Android. It’s just one step further to identify which of those numbers come from known spam sources. When the Phone app identifies one as such, it flashes a big red warning informing the user of that fact, instead of the usual green block that accompanies safe calls. Users can then opt to reject or, for whatever reason, take the call at their discretion.
No spam detection is perfect, of course, but users can help refine the system. If a spam call manages to get through undetected, they can report the number as spam and will be marked as such for future calls. Or if a number was mistakenly labeled as spam, they can mark it otherwise.
While it’s definitely a nice convenience, especially for markets where telemarketers are a sad fact of life, it is quite unfortunate that, for whatever reason, Google has limited it to its Nexus and Android One smartphones. That said, there are apps available that also provide this functionality, but there’s definitely something that can be said for a feature that comes built-in. Then again, not everyone might be comfortable letting Google take a peek at every incoming call number.