Google’s new feature lets you know who is calling and why

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
  • Follow author on
Representational Image

Tech giant Google has announced a new “Verified Calls” feature for its phone app designed to give you more information when you’re called by a business.

Compatible calls will show the name of the company, branding, a small badge to show it is verified and the reason for their call.

The feature comes to the Google Phone app, typically preloaded on Pixel and Android One smartphones. Google says it’ll now be available to download on a “limited” set of additional Android Pie and higher phones, including LG and Samsung flagship handsets.

Users with phones that support it can pick up the app from the Google Play Store and set it up as their default calling app.

Google Verified Calls Image
The feature lets you know why a certain business is calling.

Why the feature?

The verified call feature could be enormously helpful depending on how businesses use it. It helps not only to know who is calling and avoid spam calls, but also to identify when it might be necessary to drop everything to pick up the call.

For instance, you might want to pull over to take a call from your bank about a possible fraudulent transaction, but decline a marketing call from the same company.

According to Google, businesses also benefit from the feature, because people are much more likely to pick up a verified call. The tech company states that it has witnessed a considerable increase in the likelihood of customers responding to calls during feature trials.

Google also says that after releasing its Verified SMS feature last year, it found a rise in consumer trust. It is important for businesses to be encouraged to use these features, as verified calls rely on them to proactively supply Google with information for the function to work.

Google Verified Calls Image
Verified Calls increases the probability of a customer picking the call.

How does it work?

Businesses have to ping Google their phone number, the number they are making the call to and the reason for the call before it rings you up. Then the app on your phone compares the incoming call to the information it receives from Google and, if the two match, the call will be shown as verified.

Google claims that the information collected is deleted from their servers within minutes. It tells us that the feature can be used by businesses regardless of whether they make calls individually or in bulk.

The company assures that there are safeguards in place to prevent businesses from abusing it.

Google Verified Calls Image
The feature will soon be rolled out globally.

The feature could offer a major improvement over existing Caller ID systems as it verifies that businesses are what they say they are and shows the reason for their call. According to Google, the feature also works regardless of your carrier.

Google notes that not every feature of the Google Phone is available on any compatible device. For example, visual voicemail, call recording and Call Screen will continue to be exclusive to phones that come with the preloaded app. Google blames “hardware dependencies” for this exclusivity.

Google says that feature will be available immediately in India, Mexico, US, Spain and Brazil while it plans to add more countries over time.

From later this week, the Google Phone app will also be available for download, says Google.