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Google offers new feature to protect your text messages

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The humble SMS has come a long way since it burst onto the first ever phone you owned. Starting out as small messages of 160 characters, SMS apps now resemble the fully functional and feature-packed internet messaging services, like WhatsApp and Facebook, that we’ve become accustomed to. Like all points of contact, however, our SMS inboxes are targets for spam and junk mail. This latest news from Google, will be good news for anybody who is sick of having to filter through endless spam messages to get to the messages they really want to read.

Google is adding anti-spam protection to the native Android Messages app

The new anti-spam features allow users to block spammers from their inbox. Users will also be able to report spammers that have managed to break through the blockade. Another neat part of the new feature is the ability to go though Google’s list of suspected spammers and point out which of the messages are actually spam and you don’t want to see more of. Google has laid out the new feature in greater detail here.

Once you have the new anti-spam feature on your phone you will able to turn it on or off, should you wish. To find the button you’ll have to go to the Settings menu for Messages and then click on the Advanced button. The feature will automatically set to on for all users who receive it.

You might wonder why somebody would want to turn off an anti-spam feature, but privacy advocates might be quick to identify some issues with the feature. To work properly, Messages will need to send data about all your messages to Google, although this data will not include the content of the messages or your mobile number. With big tech firms like Google not enjoying high levels of trust from the general public, however, there may be quite a few people out there who won’t believe this.

This is just the latest effort in Google’s bid to protect your Android phone from the scourge of spam communication. Google has also recently put new features into the Google Phone app that will automatically route spam and other unwanted calls to voicemail.

For now, it seems that the new anti-spam features will only be receiving a limited roll-out, so not all Android users will be getting it right now. You’ll know if you’ve been one of the lucky ones, as you’ll receive a notification about spam protection the next time you open the Messages app. The rest of us, however, will have to wait for a wider roll-out of the feature.

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