In a bid to take on the escalating problem of telemarketing calls, nuisance robocalls, and scams, and the resulting consumer phone engagement for businesses, Google has introduced a new type of verification system, which it has simply named the Verified Calls feature in its Phone app.
The feature "increases call answer rates, builds trust, and helps consumers by presenting calls from legitimate businesses with verification, branding, and call reasons," Google explains in a developer update.
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Verified Calls is a simple feature: any business that's approved for the program will be able to submit the phone number of the customer they are contacting along with a description of the reason they are making the call. The person on the receiving end of the call will then see the name on the company that's calling, alongside a verified checkmark and brand logo, on their Google Phone App.
What's more, the person receiving the call will also be able to read a call reason preview on the Phone App, to let them know if they want to pick up the call or not.
So, for example, an airline company might call a customer to let them know about flight time changes or a bank might get in touch to confirm bank activity, Google explained in a statement.
It's a lot like the verified blue ticks on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook that allow users to see whether a company or individual has been verified. Of course, this will be available on Android only, and whether the feature works or not depends largely on the buy-in of businesses worldwide.
In their statement, Google announced that it has been testing the new feature "for a few months and the early results indicate that it improves the likelihood of someone answering a call."
Android users will be happy to note that Google will not be storing any of the personal data associated with these calls. The information transmitted from a business to Google to a device will also be encrypted — it seems that Verified Calls is intended solely as a quality of life upgrade for Android users, for the time being at least.
Verified Calls will be available on select Android Pie and higher devices this week and will roll out to more devices in due course. The countries included in the pilot launch are the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, and India.
Ultimately, it seems like this caller ID feature is mainly aimed at companies worried about their dwindling lack of phone engagement with consumers, though it may well help to rebuild confidence in users when it comes to picking up the occasional 'unknown caller' phonecall.