back to article I won't be ignored: Google to banish caller roulette with Verified Calls

Ad slinger Google is rolling out Verified Calls on its Phone App in the hope that its clients might stop you from ignoring calls from numbers you don't recognise. The theory goes that if a user sees the business's name and the reason for the call pop up on their device, then they are more likely to actually take the call …

  1. Dan 55 Silver badge

    This better not bypass the phone app's blocklist

    Bet it does though, the excuse being Uncle Google verified it for you.

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: This better not bypass the phone app's blocklist

      Google verified just means I'll be even more likely to ignore it.

      Oh wait, I'd never use Google's phone app in a million years so it's probably moot anyway.

  2. Jedit
    Thumb Down

    "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

    I don't know what Google are hoping to achieve here. I don't just block calls because they don't come from someone in my phonebook. I also block calls if they come from a business that has no good reason to be calling me. Confirming that you are someone I don't want to speak to is not going to stop me telling them to fuck off.

    1. Dinanziame Bronze badge

      Re: "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

      As things are now, you might be blocking calls from business that do have a good reason to call you, but you just don't know their number.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

        If you don't have a business relationship with them, there's no good reason for them to be calling you.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

          Even if I do have a business relationship with them[0], there is absolutely no reason for them to call me UNLESS we have an on-going transaction, initiated by me, that is having a problem at their end. All else is garbage, and I'm not interested. Period.

          [0] Which is defined by them as "they have heard of me somewhere", if indeed it is defined beyond "they have my phone number".

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

          Not even a hospital you've never visited, but your dear relative ended up in their Emergency Room?

          1. ThatOne Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

            > Not even a hospital you've never visited

            -A hospital which has bought Google Ads, and is paying for "Verified Calls"? My, hell has frozen over.

          2. Sherrie Ludwig

            Re: "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

            Not even a hospital you've never visited, but your dear relative ended up in their Emergency Room?

            In in US the hospital gets into privacy problems if they undertake to call you about a relative you do not have Power of Attorney in healthcare matters for. And how would said hospital know of that? I have a mobile that has ICE ( in case of emergency) numbers set up. The medical staff ( first responders included) know how to access that so the call would come from my phone not the hospital's or EMT's. Phone destroyed in said emergency and we are all SOL.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

              "In in US the hospital gets into privacy problems if they undertake to call you about a relative you do not have Power of Attorney in healthcare matters for."

              But they're also legally obligated to notify Next of Kin, especially in a morbid or mortality situation. Most hospitals I know leave a caller ID, but it's usually just the "front desk" number, not any specific ward or clinic, to at least inform the caller it's a hospital.

            2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

              Re: "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

              "In in US the hospital gets into privacy problems"

              you've gotta be shitting me.

              well , u seem to be assuming the patient is unconscious.

              what if they say

              "I lost my mobile , please call my son"?

      2. iron Silver badge

        Re: "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

        For most businesses their name appears on the call screen already so it has nothing to do with knowing their number or not and everything to do with wanting them to fuck off and leave me alone. If I want to talk to a salesdroid about shite I don't need I'll call them.

        1. Splurg The Barbarian

          Re: "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

          Only because the call is being intercepted by Google to send and compare it to their database, before sending the matched name back to your phone. As far as I was aware that's an illegal call interception.

          One of many on by default "features" disabled on my phone!

      3. skeptical i
        Paris Hilton

        Re: "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

        re: "business that do have a good reason to call you, but you just don't know their number"

        Then they can leave a message and I can either call back (yes, this is important) or not (ahhhhh, no). Seems pretty simple, am I missing something?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

        Nope, I can't think of any reason why I would expect a company that I've had no dealings with that would want to call me.

        1. Dinanziame Bronze badge

          Re: "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

          You order a pizza, and the pizza delivery guy is downstairs trying to get through the door?

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

            That appears to come under "dealing", but there are doorbells and interphones too. If the pizza guy can't use them, they're probably in the wrong job.

        2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

          what if its a busines you DO have business with , but havent programmed all their numbers in?

    2. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

      don't know what Google are hoping to achieve here

      Depending on the alleged company, they could maybe deduce that you're a pensioner with a common disease that particularly affects pensioners (you've been Googling it for a few days now) and that you have no private healthcare plan (you've been Googling that for a few days now). Of course it would be a great targeted ads opportunity highly unethical to connect your browsing history and emails to a phone database...

      1. Adelio

        Re: "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

        Ahhhh, I see you must live in the U.S of A

        Here in good old blighty, and a lot of europe healthcare is Freeeeeee.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

          Enjoy the remaining three months of free NHS in good old Blighty.

    3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

      I don't care if you are really Amazon or Microsoft Support... I don't care. I didn't ask you to call me so why are you doing it?

      The same goes fo 99.9% of the calls I get these days.

      As for Google? I would not trust them as far as I could throw my car and it weighs over 2tonnes.

    4. goldcd

      You missed the really evil/smart part though

      The company calling you, has to add a note as to why they're calling you - and google pops this up on the screen when your phone rings. A "subject line" for the call.

      Quite smart - say my mobile company calls me with "possible fraud" I'll answer, if it's "upgrade offers" I wouldn't. Presume they'll be a system put in place where when I do answer, I can provide feedback on whether or not the subject line was accurate.

      Where this benefits google is that it gets a glimpse of what's going on in your life, much as it does by scanning your gmail.

      i.e. If you get a load of calls from banks to "discuss loan", or car garages with "discuss pricing" - those are some lovely high-value key words they can add to your profile of ads you're more likely to consume.

      I do have to admire google's helpful-evil

      1. Splurg The Barbarian

        Re: You missed the really evil/smart part though

        Unless the reason is, returning my call, then they can bugger right off!

        Sorry but for me if I want something (product, service etc.) I will phone them, until then they can leave me in peace. Any company phoning me for "offers", or selling me anything immediately goes to the bottom of the list, and most likely has lost my business.

      2. ShadowDragon8685

        Re: You missed the really evil/smart part though

        > Quite smart - say my mobile company calls me with "possible fraud" I'll answer, if it's "upgrade offers" I wouldn't.

        "Well, Your Honor, you see, the thing is, we were upfront about it. We told them in our call purpose that we hoped to defraud them, and they accepted our call and offer to defraud them!"

    5. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: "if a user sees the business's name then they are more likely to actually take the call"

      "I don't know what Google are hoping to achieve here"

      Yet another opportunity to act as a middle man with a vested interest between the two ends of a communication they should be respecting as private.

  3. msknight

    The only sucker here....

    ...is the business that pays Google to be on the service in the first place. Just like they do for the adverts.

    Unfortunately I sense that people are going to be more annoyed by getting these calls, than they are with the adverts.

    This is going to open a whole world of consumer pain, I believe. Fortunately, I'm not on Google or Apple.

    1. ShadowDragon8685

      Re: The only sucker here....

      Is there an app to connect salesdrones to something like the equivalent of a pure tone transmitted at 112 db?

      That would probably fall afoul of laws, though.

      Best to just stick with transferring them to Lenny.

  4. Magani
    Unhappy

    Who's thick?

    Dear Google, What part of "NOT INTERESTED" did you not understand.

    Wishing you sex and travel,

    Magani.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Re: Who's thick?

      But this is America! How could you possibly not want to have a business relationship with just anyone who passes by?? You'll be denying them their god-given right to make money off you!!

      1. My-Handle Silver badge

        Re: Who's thick?

        I tell you what, when they acknowledge my god-given right to actually get something in return I'll actually consider it.

        But probably only briefly.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Who's thick?

        Ever try to sell the caller something? I do it occasionally. This is especially effective on political pollsters and the like, they get really, really irate.

        Caller: Is this the party to whom I am speaking?[0]

        Me: Thank you for calling the Zucchini Hotline! Would you like to purchase some Zucchini?[1]

        Caller: WTF?

        Me: This is the Zucchini Hotline, surely you are looking to purchase Zucchini!

        Caller: No, I called you to tell/ask you about <thing>

        Me: But this is the Zucchini Hotline!

        Caller" Stop talking about Zucchini!

        Me: Why would you call the Zucchini Hotline if you weren't interested in Zucchini?

        Caller: Stop wasting my time!

        Me: Who is wasting whose time? I sell Zucchini, you called me. Do you want Zucchini or not? If not, why on earth did you call the Zucchini Hotline?

        Caller: ::sputter::

        Me: I'm sorry, I didn't get that. How many cases of Zucchini would you like?

        ...

        They often aren't allowed to hang up unless you swear at them, so I've managed to drag the nonsense out for over ten minutes occasionally, before getting bored and telling them they have been fucked with ... and (usually) that I have no idea why they called me, did they enjoy wasting their own time over nothing?

        [0] Apologies to Lily Tomlin ... but seeing as they don't know the number that their computer called, what better way is there to put it?

        [1] Tomatoes, lettuce, pumpkins, steer manure, used golf balls, dried kelp, whatever strikes your fancy.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Who's thick?

          "They often aren't allowed to hang up unless you swear at them..."

          I've found they'll hang up pretty quickly for one of two reasons: (1) Wrong Number, or (2) Prank Answerer.

          Me? I don't bother. The moment I recognize a pre-recorded message, I either just hang up or leave an appropriate "You don't apply to me" response THEN hang up. Anyway, most calls don't go through my call blocker because it hangs up on any strange numbers (and spam callers tend to use random numbers to get around blocklists so fall right into my trap--anyone I know has called before so will get through, and anyone determined enough--like a hospital--will call twice anyway). Any patterns of bad callers get blacklisted on top of it, and it's able to block whole exchanges or even area codes if necessary.

          1. Adelio

            Re: Who's thick?

            in the UK I have noticed that when i receive a call if I just say nothing for a few seconds they hang up. If they start taqlking then it might be someone i want to speak to.

            IF I do not want them then i just block the number

  5. alain williams Silver badge

    The only winner is Google

    * gets to charge a business to be 'verified'.

    * learns who is calling who and why, so learns more about the business and the person being called. Google says that it won't "share sensitive information about users with its business partners" - is not the same as Google not learning something.

    Can 'phone users opt out of this completely - ie no calls will be shown 'verified' ?

    1. Stumpy Silver badge

      Re: The only winner is Google

      Yes, you can buy an iPhone.

      1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

        Re: The only winner is Google

        (Other types of phone are available.)

      2. Vincent Ballard
        WTF?

        Re: The only winner is Google

        Does that help? The company calling you won't know what kind of phone you have, so it won't affect their decision to notify Google.

  6. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    That's what voice mail is for...

    You aren't in my contacts list, your call goes straight to voice mail.

    If you can't be bothered to leave a message, I can't be bothered to talk to you anyway. Leave a scammy message & I'll share the recording on social media to mock you mircilously.

    1. James 139

      Re: That's what voice mail is for...

      Surprising now many people call, particularly from obviously faked numbers, and then don't leave messages.

      I'm still waiting for the day "I" phone myself, I might just answer that one.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: That's what voice mail is for...

        Might not be such a good idea. Those tend to be the more-cussed spam callers. I just block my whole home exchange on general principles since no one I know shares that number (even if they did, I'd just whitelist that number).

      2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: That's what voice mail is for...

        I'm still waiting for the day "I" phone myself, I might just answer that one.

        Yeah, I've been waiting for that one. Perhaps their autodialer is barely clever enough to avoid that scenario.

  7. Alumoi

    when that totally-not-spam call comes through

    You owe me a new keyboard!

  8. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    I'm trying to think how many unsolicited calls I've actually wanted

    And it's hard to be honest, to think of any. Certainly there are cases when I have called a company, and their return call is unidentified, but if I'm expecting something I'll answer it. But anyone who *isn't* on my contacts list can either sod off or leave a message.

    There are *no* circumstances where I will be interested in a random company calling me to try and sell something - whether google have approved them or not.

    1. Vincent Ballard

      Re: I'm trying to think how many unsolicited calls I've actually wanted

      I can't think of many, but there was an incident a few years ago where I had a couple of calls from a 20-or-so digit number which was obviously some spammy call centre; a few months later I discovered that it was in fact a court trying to notify me of something important. And hospital waiting lists are another one: you can go months between being put on the list and getting the phone call to tell you your number's come up, and I don't want to take every potentially spam call in that interval.

      I note that Spain is one of the countries where they're launching, and I think that's partly due to cultural differences. In Spain no-one leaves a message. The culture here is that if someone phones you and you don't answer, the ball is now in your court and you should phone back to find out what it was about.

      1. Qumefox

        Re: I'm trying to think how many unsolicited calls I've actually wanted

        You guys must fall for the 'one ring' spam/scammers quite a bit then. Spammers/scammers that call and just let it ring once to try and bait you into calling them back to see what it was.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: I'm trying to think how many unsolicited calls I've actually wanted

          I tend to answer any calls that come in (assuming I'm free), known or unknown. Scammers find themselves subjected to whatever comes to mind, although most of the time it's automatic calls who just get silence until they hang up (I'm hoping that this costs them more). However, I have the luxury to do this because somehow scammers already don't call me very often (about twice a month). Maybe it has something to do with my efforts to irritate them, but it's probably more dumb luck.

          What would be useful in this circumstance is a policy change and a technical one. The technical change is to verify calling numbers and prohibit number spoofing*. The policy change is to require a mechanism to report scams to phone companies, which would be required to investigate and terminate those who get too many requests**. Both of these policies could be implemented without much consequence, and they would likely make a large dent in unwanted calls.

          *My suggestion would entirely eliminate the ability to spoof a number. Two modifications are possible. First, we could allow people to provide an alternate number that will be recognized as long as their calling number is also provided and verified. Second, we could allow a blank number which clients could explicitly accept or reject. If spoofing is really that important, I think those suggestions will provide any benefits I'm willing to accept.

          **In order to deal with the risk of using faked scam notifications to attack a number, the policy would only require action if a verified call from the number was made in a short period of time preceding the notification. Perhaps there would be a noise level wherein an investigation is only required after three reported scams.

          1. Adelio

            Re: I'm trying to think how many unsolicited calls I've actually wanted

            I do not like it when i get a call with a blocked number, for some reason some calls from the NHS have a blocked number.

            As far as getting a spoofe number I would assume that the telephone company CAN backtrack and identify the real number, other wise how would they bill it?

            So if you contact the telephone company with the time ofthecall they can figure out who is really calling.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I'm trying to think how many unsolicited calls I've actually wanted

              "As far as getting a spoofe number I would assume that the telephone company CAN backtrack and identify the real number, other wise how would they bill it?"

              I found sometimes they have to write it off because even that got spoofed...or the exchange is hostile...

            2. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: I'm trying to think how many unsolicited calls I've actually wanted

              That's why my suggestion would include the ability to reject blocked caller ID (or omit it entirely). One interesting option is to be able to announce to the caller that blocked caller ID is not accepted so they can choose to show the number. You are only slightly correct about the phone companies being able to identify spoofed numbers. Often, the originating connection knows who is really calling and bills that person, but that doesn't necessarily mean that, by the time it gets to you, your phone provider knows who it is specifically. This variable is meaningless, however, because you can't really get a phone company to do anything about a report. If you call them today, they won't have much infrastructure for identifying or pursuing the scam, partially because, for connecting the call, they'll get paid a small amount. My suggestions would require them to do this and remove any possibility that they'd conveniently fail to identify the source. Any unwanted calls would have to come in clearly identifying their source, which means most criminal attempts would be stopped quickly and commercial bulk-calling could be more easily targeted by data protection authorities.

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: I'm trying to think how many unsolicited calls I've actually wanted

                "My suggestions would require them to do this and remove any possibility that they'd conveniently fail to identify the source."

                No, they'll just spoof like they're doing now. Some have the assistance of hostile exchanges, too, such as SIPs, so can spoof even the "hidden" billing ID. I know phone companies are increasingly writing off certain percentages of bills because they can't be pursued beyond the border.

      2. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: I'm trying to think how many unsolicited calls I've actually wanted

        I live in Spain and currently get less odd calls than a year or two back, I have had some of those twenty digit numbers that seem to be from Wisconsin or Khazakstan but I almost never answer unknown numbers, if they don't identify themselves why should I talk to them?

        I have answered a couple of cold callers but after lisening to a bit of the spiel I just say in a very British accent 'No intiendo mate!' and they hang up.

        If, on the other hand the Hacienda (tax man) has a verification, I might actually answer them.

      3. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: I'm trying to think how many unsolicited calls I've actually wanted

        Hospital waiting lists...

        They won't identify anyway. Hospitals withhold their number for privacy. Can you imagine the conversation triggered by your phone ringing with the text "Hospital... about your abortion" and the sex-starved husband seeing it?

        1. Vincent Ballard
          Go

          Re: I'm trying to think how many unsolicited calls I've actually wanted

          Maybe your hospital withholds its number. The hospital which phoned me a few weeks ago to give me an appointment didn't, which was why I picked up.

        2. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: I'm trying to think how many unsolicited calls I've actually wanted

          Test results aren't left in a message for privacy reasons. They'll tell you to call back. And most hospitals just leave their "front desk" number as Caller ID. Furthermore, things like you describe tend to be handled discretely, say under the guise of a gynecologist.

    2. KBeee Bronze badge
      Facepalm

      Re: I'm trying to think how many unsolicited calls I've actually wanted

      Just 1 call for me. A car tracking service called me to tell me they thought my car had been stolen, but I never answered the unknown number because I was busy driving my car at the time.

  9. VTAMguy

    Google Verified Spam

    Any business stupid enough to pay money to Google for something like this is a business I definitely want nothing to do with. Doesn't Google do anything real any more? It's always this kind of drek being puished as innovative, along with endless tinkering and rearranging the controls on things to no real purpose. They seem to have a million engineers and software people but they only seem to be able to manage useless stuff like this. We the humans would like software written primarily for us, and not developed primarily with a constant eye out for corporate interests. Not seeing a lot of that these days from the overloards, and they're not even pretending like they used to.

    1. ShadowDragon8685

      Re: Google Verified Spam

      Alternatively, you could look at this as a way for Google to bilk money from gullible companies in order to more easily permit the end-user to hang up on them.

  10. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo
    FAIL

    What's to stop spammers from verifying themselves

    Since Google will not vet the to-be-verified calls by human operator it will employ massive automation.

    The robo-caller's playbook

    * Step 1: register some throw-away business with Google to have calls verified

    * Step 2: verify all your robo-calls with Google

    * Step 3: If your throw-away business gets blocked by Google over user complaints, start again with Step 1

    In the end, the prices for robo-calls goes up a bit, Google gets to know even more of how's in business with whom, and the robo-calls don't go away.

    This idea of verifying the calls you're about to make with Google so that Google can notify the other end of the call that this is not spam,

    reminds me of the idea of uploading your nude pictures to FakeBook, so that FakeBook can filter them out later, if someone uploads revenge porn.

    Palm, meet face.

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: What's to stop spammers from verifying themselves

      reminds me of the idea of uploading your nude pictures to FakeBook, so that FakeBook can filter them out later, if someone uploads revenge porn.

      I expect if I uploaded *MY* nude pictures, it would crash their servers (in a form of server suicide).

  11. IGotOut Silver badge

    This could be illegal.

    If I'm on the Do Not Call list and Google passes the call to me, then Google have broken the call, as they are the ones initiating the call (as far as I can tell from the description)

  12. David Lewis 2
    Facepalm

    Thanks for the Information!

    1. STD Clinic requests Google to verify a call to John/Jane Doe.

    2. Google verifies the call and hungrily slurps the data, fantasizes over the marketing opportunities and sells the info to Blackmail-r-Us Inc.

    3. John/Jane Doe subsequently receives a "verified" call from Blackmail-r-Us Inc ... "does your husband/wife/partner know you have a STD?

    4. Profit!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    its clients might stop you from ignoring calls from numbers you don't recognise

    er, what?

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: its clients might stop you from ignoring calls from numbers you don't recognise

      I believe the intended meaning would better be expressed as "Its clients might be able to assure you that you would like to accept their call even though you don't recognize their number". However, there's another meaning, and Google might like to implement that one. That meaning would be clearly expressed as "Its clients might be able to use this to bypass existing restrictions and get their notifications into your face more often, rewarding Google for the privilege while irritating you".

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the customer's number and reason for the call are deleted from Google's servers

    I don't believe there's no teeny-tiny star there!

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: the customer's number and reason for the call are deleted from Google's servers

      Before they are deleted, they are properly backed up. Just in case, of course.

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: the customer's number and reason for the call are deleted from Google's servers

      No, I think it's the truth. No footnote needed. That information is in fact deleted. The minutes between sending it to you and deleting it permanently are just spent running it through a parser which adds relevant chunks to your advertising model.

      There's another truth in the article. Some of us might feel doubt when we hear that "The advertising behemoth also insisted that it wouldn't share sensitive information about users with its business partners", but that's also entirely honest. It will not share any of that information with the partners. It will sell the ability to use but not view that information to the partners, entirely different.

  15. Filippo

    This sounds useful

    I generally do answer to calls not in my contacts list, because they sometimes are e.g. one of my customers calling from their personal phone. But 95% of times they are spam.

    Now, if Google tells me that this call is from, say, any business that I do not currently have a relationship with, I can safely reject the call and add the number to the block list.

    So yeah, this sounds useful to me, though maybe not in the way Google is hoping.

    When are we going to finally force telecoms to prevent caller ID spoofing, by the way?

    1. Qumefox

      Re: This sounds useful

      Probably not until goverments stop being able to be controlled by corporations. So. Basically never.

      Telco's don't want to do this either, because they make money off all those spoofed robocalls. So stopping spoofing means you would actually be able to block the actual spammers, which means less connected calls, which means less revenue for the telco..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: goverments stop being able to be controlled by corporations

        Sirius Cybernetics Corporation would very much disagree with you.

        Personally, I think that it won't be too long before Amazon makes a play to do exactly just that. They'd take on the US National debt and ... before long the only store/restaurant/outlet is owned and controlled by Amazon. You would be forbidden by law to have your own chickens, grow your own stuff and even pick wild fruits without a license from Amazon.

        1984 in the eyes of Bezos didn't go anywhere near far enough.

        1. ArrZarr Silver badge
          Big Brother

          Re: goverments stop being able to be controlled by corporations

          Please, that's the world Robocop is heading towards.

          1984's control method was to stymie rational debate and the power of friendship.

        2. Adelio

          Re: goverments stop being able to be controlled by corporations

          and we end up with only I restaurant chain "Tacco Bell" !

  16. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
    Stop

    GDPR

    So a business is intending to give data to Google about me (that they're calling me, what it's about)... isn't that against GDPR unless I've explicitly given them permission to do so?

    The ICO should have a field day with this.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: GDPR

      Yes, they would have to add Google as a data processor and specify in their updated privacy notice that they're going to do it. It will definitely be specifically opt-in, an easy switch that isn't connected to anything else, just like people have to do with tracking cookies now. Now once the data protection authorities realize that nobody's doing that with tracking cookies, maybe we'll actually make progress and stop this idea only five or six years after it's implemented.

  17. Peter Prof Fox

    It'll ONLY appeal to the scammers

    Great for any scammy business masquerading as honest-joe. Look Doris! It's been approved as genuine by Google so it must be OK to give them my bank details.

  18. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Do Google also assure you that there really is a Santa Claus?

    1. katrinab Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Yes they do

      https://santatracker.google.com/

      1. jake Silver badge

        But ...

        ... if you know the location of Santa, Shirley you can't know if he exists?

        1. Negative Charlie

          Re: But ...

          > if you know the location of Santa, Shirley you can't know if he exists?

          If you know where he is then he definitely exists, but you can't be sure how fast he's going.

  19. Splurg The Barbarian

    Another reason to not update a Google app

    I have a big issue with what Google is, has been and will be doing with the phone app. This current idea follows the trend. Google has its phone app will tell you who is phoning you, say a business not stored as a contact, or alert you to possible fraud. To do this the villainous as slinger has to have the phone app send the data relating to the call ( the number), match it to what ever database they have and send it back to your phone so it can display the name. All before your phone rings. Isn't that "call interception"? Isn't that illegal?

    They have waived the "shiny-shiny" at the stupid masses who have left this, on by default, feature active. Look it tells you who is phoning, it does, and what other call details are passed to Google to store, analyse and sell?

    This new thing is an extension to this, and entirely unwanted. Who cares if it's a verified business, if it's unsolicited then they can do one! Just more excuses to earn money from $h1t advertising by a company that cares not one iota about privacy and the right to peace & quiet!!

    1. ShadowDragon8685

      Re: Another reason to not update a Google app

      If you want peace and quiet then turn your bloody phone off. Or set the ringer to silent.

      I, for one, am glad that Google is popping up "Possible Fraud" alerts.

      YOU may think you're hot shit and the bee's knees and sharper than a razor, but a lot of people, especially the elderly, aren't.

      If governments and telcos won't step up to the plate and bring the baseball bat down on scammers and fraudsters, then at least the Chocolate Factory printing "Possible Fraud" in big letters will hopefully save SOME pensioners from getting scammed.

      1. Splurg The Barbarian

        Re: Another reason to not update a Google app

        My, someone must have sat down on a pin!

        "Peace and quiet" the right to not receive unsolicited calls. More than happy to accept friends, family and those I have given my number to. Unsolicited sales, marketing can go forth and multiply.

        If anyone thinks this has ANYTHING to do with "won't someone think of the elderly" , then they are living in cloud cuckoo land. This has everything to do with Google making money, by accepting money to have calls flagged as acceptable so that, in your case, the "elderly" will answer and say yes to shit they don't need because it's got a "Google tick"

        This is a business that wishes to track everyone, collect, analyse and store personal data, sell advertising doing similar to Phorm, which was ruled illegal, but the principals of injected adds based in tracking is now the norm. I would struggle to find anything that the Google of last 15 years or more has done that has ever been done for altruistic reasons. Everything has an angle, and that points to revenue to Google.

        You only have to look at all the "promoted" searches in a Google search to see just how good they are at stopping "scammers" from taking money from unsuspecting members of the public.

  20. DS999

    This is pointless

    Businesses that have an actual reason for calling me leave a voicemail saying who they are, so I can call them back or choose to answer next time. The only one this benefits is Google, who gets to know why businesses are calling consumers so they can add more data to the profile of each.

    Glad I don't and never will use Google Phone. Is that the standard "phone app" on Android, or is Google Phone something separate?

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: This is pointless

      There is a basic phone dialer as part of AOSP, and I've seen a lot of Android phones use that as the default. I think this one is a different, Google-specific dialer, and I imagine it's shipped on Google's phones. Whether it's routinely provided by other manufacturers I'm not sure, but if this is valuable enough to Google, they'll make it one of the required preinstallations for manufacturers using Play Services. Android users can, however, change the default app which receives calls to something more trustworthy.

  21. ThatOne Silver badge

    Actually

    > "If it isn't in my phonebook then it's probably spam."

    If it isn't in my phonebook, it's certainly spam.

    The only people supposed to know my private phone number are those I chose to give it to.

  22. Anonymous C0ward

    It's a positive

    But if your call is IMO likely to be spam, I probably still won't answer it.

  23. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    I must be really lucky in that i never get nuisance calls and have never had to block any

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