Google Calls Out Good Guys, Bad Guys in Your SMS
Google has added two major new features to its Messages app for Android phones: Verified SMS and spam protection. Verified SMS is a way for Google to confirm that SMS messages claiming to come from a participating business are, in fact, legitimate messages from that company. A special banner will appear at the top of such message threads to let the user know that the message is authentic. The feature should help combat phishing attacks involving fake security messages, for example. The US is among the launch countries. Businesses participating at launch include SoFi, Payback, Banco Bradesco, Kayak, and 1-800-Flowers. Spam protection works the opposite way, showing a warning banner on messages that Google suspects are spam, or that include links to web sites that Google knows to be unsafe. This features has been available in other countries, but is now rolling out "broadly" in the US. The spam banner includes options for confirming that a message is spam, or marking "not spam". Both new Messages features work without sending all of your messages to Google, keeping your messages private.
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Sprint has joined T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T in offering a free service with basic protection against fraud and spam callers. Like the free services already offered by other carriers, Sprint's new Call Screener Basic can block the highest-risk fraud calls, and identify other likely spam calls as they ring.
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Twitter today made it easier to publish tweet storms, or threads. The use of threads, a way to string together a series of tweets to tell a longer story, has risen in popularity over the last few years.
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The FCC today approved several declaratory rulings that aim to protect consumers from robocalls and spam messages. Though the move was taken under the guise of safeguarding everyday people, the changes in effect give carriers more control over their networks in ways that could harm consumers.
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