Tools like Google Assistant Call Screen on the Pixel help mitigate robocalls, but broader FCC and industry action is ultimately required. Caught in the line of fire is Google Voice’s voicemail transcription over SMS feature, which Google is shutting down later this week due to the spam problem.
Google Voice has long had a “Get voicemail via message” option as part of the broader voicemail transcription functionality. It sends the body of a voicemail via SMS and obviates the need to actually listen.
As most voicemail left today is spam, carriers end up seeing that Google is sending people spam-like SMS messages over their network. Some unnamed carriers have already taken to blocking these messages in response. Google “can no longer ensure these messages will be delivered” and will be “turning down the feature.”
It has come to our attention that certain carriers are blocking the delivery of these messages because they are automated and, at times, contains transcripts that resulted from unsolicited robocalls.
Google is alerting Voice accounts today (via Brian Krebs and the Verge) by email, with the full shutdown expected on Friday, August 9. It might already be unavailable for some users. The “Get voicemail via email” feature will continue to work, with the company also recommending that you check voicemail and view transcripts from Google Voice for Android, iOS, and the web.
Robocalls have resulted in many carriers blocking Google Voice's "get voicemail via message" feature. Google says it will discontinue the feature effective Aug. 9 pic.twitter.com/AZVuWqGXt8
— briankrebs (@briankrebs) August 6, 2019
More about Google Voice:
- Google Voice web app gains always-visible call panel, audio controls
- Google Voice 2019.28 adds Material Theme account switcher, preps vCard support [APK Insight]
- Google Voice 2019.26 adds Material Theme avatars, preps & ‘Driving Mode’ [APK Insight]
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