Android Messages releasing the bots in text spam fight?

For a brief period of time, Google moved to a model where they were releasing updates to apps on a regular, set basis. More recently though Google seems to be more interested in releasing new features and functions on a more sporadic basis pretty much as soon as they are ready via  series of smaller, incremental updates. An example of this is Android Messages, which saw an update start to roll out over this past weekend. The update includes some minor enhancements, but the real change seems to be in some code not yet activated that points to help with spam messages.

Like robocalls on phones or emails in our inboxes, our text messaging platforms are not immune to the spammers of the world. To help combat the problem, Google may be working on using some of their AI algorithms used to spot and filter out email spam and applying that to text messages. Kicking things off, Android Messages will now have a new checkbox option available to users who block a user through Android Messages. The option is to report the message as spam. In fact, some of the code indicates up to 10 of the most recent messages can be submitted as spam in a batch.

The dialog box used for this does not indicate where the spam message(s) may be getting reported to – a carrier or Google, but the code says it is going to Google. Sources think the presence of the new checkbox may also be carrier or phone model dependent as well.

By scooping up so many messages, it appears Google may be trying to collect data to feed into their AI for analysis and comparison to build a better spam-fighting messages platform. This could prove to be a nice addition in the world of spam-fighting, although we would like to see how Google will handle false positives if they move forward and how users can review those messages to verify everything is working correctly.

If you are an Android Messages user interested in making greater use of GIF memes, there is a new feature you will want to check out. Google is porting over their GIF search function from Gboard and Allo to Android Messages. Being native to the app may help those users who do not have a keyboard with built-in support to find GIFs.

Sticking with the visual theme, Android Messages is also getting an enhancement to their support for stickers. Users will find that they have a new, dedicated spot for favorite stickers or sticker packs. Adding stickers to this section will be done via a double-tap. Indications are the double-tap will also enable other possible actions like getting more info or accessing a sticker pack in the Play Store.

Finally, Google is beefing up the search function in Android Messages. Until now, searches were limited to simple keyword searches. That is being expanded so that users can choose to look for attachments, photos, videos, links or locations connected to a message.

source: Android Police


About the Author: Jeff Causey

Raised in North Carolina, Jeff Causey is a licensed CPA in North Carolina. Jeff's past Android devices include an HTC EVO, a Samsung Note II, an LG G3, and a Motorola Moto X Pure Edition along with a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 10.1. He currently uses a Samsung Galaxy S8 and (very rarely) a Nexus 7 (2013). He is also using a Verizon-branded Motorola Moto Z Play Droid supplied by his job. Jeff used to have a pair of Google Glass and a Moto 360 Sport in his stable of gadgets. Unfortunately, his kids have all drunk the Apple Kool-Aid and have i-devices. Life at home often includes demonstrations of the superiority of his Android based devices. In his free time, Jeff is active an active runner usually training for his next marathon, owns a MINI Cooper, and plays Dungeons & Dragons. Jeff has three mostly grown kids and a golden retriever.