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article imageGoogle's Nexus phones now offer built-in robocall protection

By James Walker     Jul 27, 2016 in Technology
Google has updated the dialer on its Nexus and Android One devices to fend off scammers and directly from the incoming call screen. You'll see an alert if a call is suspected as spam and will be able to immediately block and report the number.
Google shared the news in a Google+ post this week. The feature is available to owners of supported Nexus devices and Google's range of low-end Android One phones. It will rollout automatically as part of a Google Phone app update.
To enable spam blocking, you need to opt-in to Caller ID and spam protection. This can be done within the Phone app by heading to the options menu and tapping "Caller ID & spam protection." From there, you can control the setting using a single toggle slider.
When turned on, the feature will show you the identity of known callers so you can choose in advance whether to answer. If a number is flagged for spam, the incoming call screen header will have a red background. The app will warn that the caller is suspected of sending spam, allowing you to decline calls from unknown numbers without being drawn into shady schemes.
"If you see 'Suspected spam caller' or 'Spam' as the caller ID, the call might be spam," explains Google in a help page. "You can answer the call, or block and report the number."
Once you've dealt with the call, you can manually block the number or report it directly. You can also correct false caller information and remove the spam alert from known callers who have been incorrectly blocked. These features are available to every call, including ones visible in the Recent Calls screen that were made before the Phone app update. The new version is rolling out through the Play Store now.
"Spam callers be gone! Today we're beginning to update your Google Phone app with spam protection on #Nexus and #AndroidOne devices to warn you about potential spam callers and give you the ability to block and report these numbers," said Google. "If you already have Caller ID turned on, spam protection will be available on your phone once your app updates to the latest version."
Google is by no means the first company to offer built-in caller ID and spam blocking features. Samsung launched the Galaxy S7 in February with the ability to do both. Third-party apps such as Truecaller and Whitepages are also popular with consumers, providing the same functionality. The latter powers the Galaxy S7's call blocking features.
Robocalls and spammers remain a major problem across the telecoms industry. The FCC is receiving record numbers of complaints from customers, prompting it to require network operators to offer free spam blocking services.
So far, only AT&T has responded positively to the plan. In a public statement earlier this month, the carrier described robocalls as an "industry-wide problem" that requires a "comprehensive, industry-wide approach" to be solved. "We're encouraging the deployment of new technology along with increased law enforcement involvement and prosecution of offenders to deal with the particularly troubling issue of illegal calls," the company said.
Even with the best intentions, the FCC's efforts have yet to result in any firm action against robocallers. Consumers remain reliant on the features built-in to their devices to stay safe from scammers, making Caller ID and spam protection a notable addition to Google's Phone app.
More about Google, Google Phone, google nexus, Nexus, Smartphones
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