Android phones to alert users to spam calls
Tue 26 Jul 2016
Google is introducing a new feature to its Android Phone app which will automatically detect spam and robo-calls, and allow its mobile users to block and report nuisance numbers.
The spam screening tool, which will first become available for Nexus and Android One owners, will warn users who have activated Caller ID and spam protection if the unsolicited call is a ‘suspected spam caller’. A red screen will flag the call, as opposed to the standard blue label for familiar callers.
After the call has been rejected or answered, phone owners will be able to view their spam history in the call log and from there block future calls from a number. They can also report a call if it was particularly offensive. If a number has been accidentally marked as spam, users can reverse the mistake.
The spam warning feature is part of version 4.0 of the Android Phone app, and is downloadable across the Google Play store. From today, users can download and install the update directly, rather than waiting days for the feature to reach their device.
Google is not the first to deliver the spam feature; Samsung Galaxy S7 has delivered spam recognition functionality since February this year through its partnership with online directory Whitepages.
Apple is also looking into improving spam identification with its new iOS 10 release, which is already available in beta. If receiving an incoming call from an unknown number, iOS 10 will be able to automatically let the user know whether or not the call is spam-related as an extension of its Caller ID functionality.
In China, Apple’s second largest market, a collaboration with domestic internet giant Tencent has allowed the company to block out nuisance calls from real estate agents (a particular problem in Chinese cities), as well as from companies who have committed financial fraud.