Google Phone Android App Gets Spam Filtering & Open Beta

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Google is making its Phone app for Android devices available for open beta testing to anyone with an eligible smartphone, the Alphabet-owned company said Tuesday. The experimental channel is presently also being updated with a new Spam Filtering feature meant to combat potentially unwanted calls, the tech giant confirmed. Becoming a Phone beta tester is as simple as referring to the banner below, signing into the program with your Google account, and leaving the app to update itself to the latest pre-release build. Anyone enrolled in the program can exit it at any time by visiting the main Google Play Store listing of the app and clicking or tapping the corresponding option. There are no limits on the number of times users can opt into and out of the program and Google also hasn’t imposed a limit on the number of beta testers that the service can have at once.

The Mountain View, California-based firm is asking all users eager to try the latest Phone features to send feedback so as to assist it in development and ultimately help make the app better for everyone. Pledging to give feedback still doesn’t appear to be a requirement for becoming enrolled in the beta program. Spam Filtering is the first functionality meant to be tested in such an open manner, with Google being yet to provide a firm timeline for a stable release of the solution, having only said it intends to launch it on a global level in a matter of weeks, presumably by the end of spring. The system itself is described as being highly automated in nature, with Google devising a service that should be able to detect likely spam calls automatically and send them to voicemail without allowing them to ring your device. Such filtered calls will be displayed in a separate section of the Phone app’s call history but won’t result in notifications about missed calls or pending voicemail messages, Google said.

Phone beta testers willing to critique the app and provide Google with suggestions on how to make it better can do so from the “Help & Feedback” section of the “More” menu, the same option that’s also present in the stable build of the Android app. Running both an experimental and stable version of the service isn’t possible, as is the case with all beta tests powered by the Google Play Store.

Google Phone App Beta