New Android feature tells you why someone is calling


  • Smartphones
  • Wednesday, 09 Sep 2020

Google's new feature for its Phone app, Verified Call, helps reveal who and why someone is calling you. — Google

Tired of seemingly random calls from unknown numbers? Google is rolling out a new feature that helps reveal why a business is calling.

The Verified Calls feature will show the caller’s name, company logo, reason for calling and a verification symbol indicating the participating business has been authenticated by Google.

According to a blog post, this feature works by requiring participating businesses to send specific details – like its phone number, your phone number and its reason for calling you – to the tech giant’s dedicated server, which are then forwarded to your device’s Google Phone app.

When you receive their call, your device then compares the incoming call information with the information Google received from the business and if it matches, the Phone app then displays the call as a Verified call.

Google product manager Gal Vered assured that the company doesn’t collect or store any personally identifiable information after verification.

Vered said Verified Calls had been in pilot version for a few months, with early results indicating that it improved the likelihood of someone answering a call.

“Businesses often rely on phone calls to reach out to new customers and serve existing ones. But here’s the hang-up: customers often don’t answer the call if they don’t recognise the number,” he said, on the Google blog.

Banks for example improved pickup rates when they stated why they were calling in the first place. — GoogleBanks for example improved pickup rates when they stated why they were calling in the first place. — Google

For example, a bank calling to alert a customer about a possible fraudulent transaction could increase answer rates by simply stating the reason they were calling, Vered stated.

Similarly, food delivery or logistics companies could also get the same improved pickup rate when they indicated they were calling to make sure customers were available to receive their deliveries.

The technology was based on last year’s Verified SMS feature, which confirmed the identity of the business that’s texting.

Vered said a study in the US and Brazil found that Verified SMS increased consumer trust in brands, significantly improving performance on metrics like likelihood to purchase, brand satisfaction and likelihood to recommend.

Verified Calls was a new native feature added into the Google Phone app, which comes preloaded on most Android phones, and would be available for download later this week on other Android devices too, according to Vered.

The initial roll out would start in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Spain and India, with more countries to come.

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